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"We deserve better"

Justin Kiska

(12/2017) I was visiting my parents in Walkersville the other day and as I was leaving and getting into my car, there was a group of children playing down the street. I heard one of the little girls say, "Alright, if you want to play hide and seek, raise your hand." A few kids raised their hands. Then she said, "If you want to play tag, raise your hand." Itís funny how something as simple as a group of children trying to decide what to play struck me the way it did.

It occurred to me how the true essence of our democracy has been so ingrained in us that even little children understand Ė maybe not fully Ė but know how important it is to vote.

Yet, the recent election in the City of Frederick had a dismal turn out. In a city with over 65,000 residents, only a little more than 42,000 are registered voters. Of that, just over 9,000 people went to the polls on Election Day. We know how important voting is, yet each year it seems like less and less people show up to cast their ballot.

What is causing this disinterest in turning out to vote? Is it really voter apathy? Do people hate "politics" that much? Are people just too wrapped up in other things? Or is it that weíre all looking for someone better to vote for?

How often have you heard that someone is voting for a particular candidate because "they are the lesser of two evils?" Or even worse, "the lesser of who cares." How many times has someone said, "All politicians are the same?" Maybe itís not the politics but the people.

Itís been a while since weíve seen true leaders stand up and inspire us to be greater, to raise us up instead of tear us down, to encourage and challenge us to be the best we can be.

Is this too much to ask for? Absolutely not.

A true leader is someone with visionary ideas who doesnít want to demonize their opponent, but work with them to find common ground and actually get things done. A true leader wonít just point out the problems weíre facing and tell us how terrible things are, but rather find ways to move us forward. A true leader can encourage a souring debate about the issues without making it personal and letting petty differences and politics get in the way of doing whatís right. A true leader needs to inspire and energize people and always see what can be.

Maybe next year, with the state and county elections, we can start to change things. It will have to be from the bottom up, but if we demand that our candidates are better and look for the individuals that inspire us, maybe weíll see the voter turnout numbers increase.

Iíve always been amazed by Frederick County's potential. Growing up here, I knew what was possible. Thatís why I came back to Frederick after working in Washington where I joined my family in starting our company.

This is a community grounded in its history but always looking to its future. That's why itís so important to elected leaders who will encourage and enable the county and its residents to thrive as we continue further into the 21st Century.

The future is bright and we need to embrace the possibilities.

Read other articles by Justin