During interviews with Waunakee Village Board candidates running in the April 2 election, the most common thread is their willingness to step up and contribute to their community. Many similar concerns and opportunities arose — the village’s fiscal responsibility, adherence to the comprehensive plan and how Tax Incremental Finance is used to incentivize development, to name a few.
But rather than viewing the election through a lens of divisiveness, considering the contributions each trustee candidate hopes to make to the village as evidence of a social collaboration is more constructive.
Each of the candidates offers different opinions of how best to grow the village, but each has made a commitment to work toward a greater good.
I recently read a moving editorial by David Brooks in the New York Times about the Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute which seeks to bring people together. The idea is our culture of isolationism and individualism lie at the heart of loneliness, mental illness, despair and suicide.
The Weave project aims to create more community dialogue and bring people together to solve problems. As Michael Gerson, columnist in the Washington Post, opined in the Feb. 21 edition, Weave is “designed to recognize and help people directly involved in social repair.”
Think of pastors, community leaders and educators. Here, something so simple as the English Group, a collaboration between the Waunakee Neighborhood Connection and school district to help non-native English speakers improve their skills is a good example.
The Weavers “share the goal of strengthening human ties, trust and reciprocity as alternatives to isolation, loneliness and despair,” Gerson explains.
Brooks, in his column, promotes what he calls “relationism” as opposed to “hyper-individualism,” the sort of society that values individual achievement rather than that attained by helping others and contributing to a community.
This spring, we have an election with six candidates vying for three village trustee seats. Another is now running as a write-in candidate for village president.
Whomever is elected will have an impact on Waunakee, so voters would be wise to educate themselves and learn what changes these candidates would like to see, if any.
Three candidate forums are planned, including one the Waunakee Tribune is hosting, sponsored by the Waunakee Area Chamber of Commerce.
We at the Tribune and the Chamber are considering questions to pose to the candidates at our forum on March 23, and we would like to hear from community members. Do you see more inclusive housing as a priority? What about street maintenance? Should we be encouraging more commercial development to offset the property taxes residents pay? Or are there other priorities you feel have not been talked about?
If you have topics you would like to see addressed at the forum, email them to the Tribune at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In local government, constituents can have an active role in the process and contribute to policy. Getting involved is far less difficult than at the state or federal level. The more dialogue we have on the issues, the stronger the fabric of our community.