NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — I am David Lamarre, a candidate for North Adams City Council. I'd like to share some thoughts on how I see the City Council's role and provide some insight into how I'll approach my responsibilities as a councilor.
Remembering that the strength of a community is found in its citizens, not its government, I believe that the City Council should serve to keep the wires of government and the people tightly connected. As a city councilor, I will work in collaboration with the mayor, councilors, community groups, businesses and individual citizens on urgent issues, routine council business and community initiatives.
These four steps — thinking independently, listening attentively, debating respectfully and acting collectively — are my framework for navigating the sometimes choppy waters of local government. I will make them the hallmark of my service to North Adams.
City councilors have a responsibility to think independently and avoid influences that may shortchange the process or ensure a predetermined outcome. Thinking independently requires confidence with a balance of creativity, perspective and experience, important elements to building a foundation for collaboration. Each of us bringing our own thoughts to the process of government enables the city council to draw from a deeper well of imagination and expertise. Without independent thinkers we risk missing the opportunities of fresh ideas, creativity is stifled, experience discounted and perspective unbalanced. Independent thinkers inspire spirited debate, challenging the status quo.
We should listen attentively to a variety of points of view and adjust our own thinking to incorporate ideas that will help us achieve the best results. I've often found that when I talk less and listen more I get greater satisfaction from the results of a collective effort. Having given others the opportunity to be heard helps me formulate a more informed opinion and channels my decision making process in a positive way.
That doesn't mean that I'm shy about speaking up. It means that the better I listen the more thoughtful, concise, and meaningful my position is when I do speak. You can't begin a discussion by shutting out opposing points of view and hope to move toward a fully informed decision.
Public debate is the filter that clarifies issues and validates actions. A councilor should debate respectfully while pushing others to present thoughtful positions. Debating respectfully requires setting aside egos and political gamesmanship in favor of reaching the best outcomes. There is nothing like a good and fair argument to affect a positive conclusion. In the end everyone feels like they were a part of the process, their opinions were valued and they're gratified from the effort.
For my part, I'll argue for my positions and can hold tightly to a conclusion. I'm not afraid to be the odd man out or the dissenting opinion on a hot -button issue because compromising principles, values or ethics is a bitter option. The important thing is that government representatives and the people of North Adams trust the process and look ahead optimistically, assured that we're all doing our best to govern in a way that delivers maximum benefit for our city.
To act collectively, as civic leaders, is the last step. Acting collectively means that leadership doesn't end with the council vote. This is where the hard work truly begins. Acting collectively to advance our mutual interests becomes the responsibility of all councilors, no matter where we stood on the issue at the outset. To do otherwise forces a return to the status quo, is not respectful of the process and undermines our progress. Follow through to implementation and conclusion is essential, otherwise we risk that all the thinking, listening and debating has been for nothing.
Thank you for considering my point of view. Cast a vote for civic pride by casting a vote for me, David Lamarre, on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Comments are closed for this article. If you would like to contribute information on this article, e-mail us at info@iBerkshires.com