The election is over, and people voted for another term of Randy Hope. My campaign went well. I was the only candidate to put out a platform that explained the “how and what.” The feedback of my performance at the forums was excellent. I ran a positive campaign devoted to solutions.
I want to thank all those people who believed in my vision and showed support with your vote.
In the absence of anything of substance from the incumbent, my platform will likely be the agenda over the next four years – we can’t afford to not pursue those strategies I laid out, only I won’t be there to make sure things are done right.
This marks the end of my municipal political involvement. I guess not enough people want leaders with integrity, genuine ideas of substance and a plan of action. They apparently want name recognition and the best campaign stunt.
Since I first entered the political scene in 2003, I put many items on the agenda, and achieved some of them quietly as well despite placing second for mayor. I met a lot of interesting people, and learned a great deal about our communities and what makes them tick. I’ve come to recognize that we have forgotten to capitalize on what we already have.
The price turned out to be too high. Taking a political stance in this community had a negative impact on business and career ventures. I was subjected to mudslinging and personal defamatory attacks during all 3 of my campaigns. The public is largely unaware of the sacrifice my candidacy represented.
Although I can hold my head high, confident in knowing I ran a solid campaign, the hidden costs have taken a toll. Ultimately, my public participation caused serious damage; it affected my family, finances, and reputation. That part was not worth it. That’s not the message I intended to bring at the conclusion of this campaign but it’s the sad truth.
Throughout this election, the media constantly referred to me as an “unsuccessful” candidate while the mayor ran a campaign devoid of substance but full of unpublicized admissions that he accomplished little. The mayor and the Chatham Daily News even stated the degree to which I “lost,” which the media felt was more important to publish than the fact I released a 33-page Plan for Prosperity full of ideas for immediate action to achieve positive results.
You would think my political involvement would have at least identified me as a potential future leader. Instead, it resulted in me being forever branded in public as a “losing candidate,” including the time between elections. That is the message our media sent to others considering public participation. I believe our media abused their obligation to the public and the profession.
The rest of the media coverage was so bland and “equal” that any differences and distinctions were neutralized. The incumbent got more TV time and ink, and clever headlines peppered with the word “hope.” No wonder voter turnout is so low.
Now the thought of having one’s name always appear in conjunction with the word “defeated” in perpetuity would be enough to discourage anyone, but it gets worse.
My family has been subjected to several attacks over the past four years, including costly lawsuits (proven to be a vexatious abuse of process that the municipality won’t deny using tax dollars to finance), anonymous extortion attempts, and libellous advertising stating my businesses were closed when they were not. Some of these have alleged links to the mayor’s office.
The anonymous cowards who tried getting my wife fired by sending maliciously false and illegally-obtained information to her employer did not have the satisfaction of intimidating me from running for mayor. I won there. Authorities are investigating.
When I spoke of “stomping out mischief” during the campaign, I was being most charitable considering its personal impact. I held back.
There is a story that I did not tell during the campaign, because I wanted to be remembered as a positive candidate with a vision on offer and an altruistic desire to serve my community.
Besides, it was not my role as a candidate to expose the corruption that local media overlooked and thereby enabled. However, it didn’t just disappear into the ether, and that job still must be performed. When it comes out, there will be waves.
While this is the swansong of my municipal political involvement, the albatross still hangs heavily as I deal with the fallout from the past four years. I will continue to pursue those issues that will make our community a better place. My research has also taken me to dark places, and I shone some light in there. In the future I will tell what I found lurking and scurrying for cover.
My efforts will no doubt be labeled as the sour grapes of a losing candidate by those with something to hide, and further attempts will be made to discredit me. I don’t have a choice due to my circumstances. Aside from ongoing research into the campaign Boardwalk announcement, this was all complete before I announced my candidacy but I chose to focus on positive issues instead.
We still have to try eliminating wrongdoing wherever it thrives. It’s important that our municipal government operates with the necessary amount of integrity, ethics, and transparency. What the media thinks of me no longer matters. They had a job to expose the truth but failed. Voters did the deed based on that, and now have a duty to hold their selections accountable. I was given the role of a curious outsider looking in.
I’d like to see something positive in this election outcome. From my panoramic vantage point, I am concerned we are destined to experience four more years of disconnect, struggle, and unhurried reactions. It will be up to the new council to perform leadership. They must understand the situation in Chatham-Kent is critical. There is no margin of error.
To all those who ran, congratulations. Some of you won, and the great responsibility of moving our community forward rests with you. Nobody lost – our future leaders may be among you. Our community is made richer by those who care. In particular, I commend Tom McGregor on his fine campaign and kind words.
Today, I’m saddened and discouraged. My best ideas and vision were not good enough. I am not and never was a politician. It was not easy for me, but that’s why I tried. My children were proud and involved. Tomorrow I will carry on toward new horizons.