The Candidate: Running for office in small town America

by Carol A Westbrook

Town Hall on Election Day, Beverly Shores, IN

“You must be crazy,” the current Council president said to me. “Why do you want to run for Town Council?”

Being on the Beverly Shores Town Council was a thankless job. It paid only a small stipend, took up a lot of time in month meetings, committee meetings, and pubic events. There were always calls from irate residents–a tree is down, their trash was not picked up, why did they get a parking ticket, their road needs plowing. Many former councilors told me they started the post with many friends, and ended it with just as many enemies.

Why did I want to run? Was it election fever, inspired by twelve Democratic presidential candidates trying to grab the nomination? Did I have an urgent political agenda?  Did I have to prove myself somehow?  No, to all of these. The real reason I ran for office was because somebody had to do it.

As of March 2019–the deadline to file for a local primary election in the State of Indiana– there were only four candidates who declared for our Town’s five council seats, and one for Clerk-Treasurer. And they were all Democrats. There were also no independent or Republican candidates at that time, either. No need for a primary, but not enough candidates for five seats. Somehow that didn’t seem right. There should be at least five candidates, and they shouldn’t all be from the same party. The electorate deserve a choice. Somebody had to run. Read more »