Yep, it is that time of year. The nights start a little sooner, the air is cool, and the leaves change from lush green to golden yellow and brown. I love this time of year, and I have hope every time that my team will come out on top. My ‘team’ is all of us. It is you. It is Meridian. The time of year is election season.
You have helped us lead this valley for a long time, with beautiful parks, safe streets and schools, and the cleanest and most efficient water and wastewater recovery operation in Idaho. Your friends and neighbors will look to you for advice on who to vote for, and to share how you think Meridian is doing on the issues that are most important to them. You have a remarkable influence because you know Meridian in your own unique way. I get asked those questions too: Who should I vote for? What should I be looking out for? So, with election season upon us, I thought I’d share with you what I look for in a candidate. I won’t share any odds or point spreads on these candidates below, but I will share what needs to be in any candidate’s playbook to be successful. First, the contests.
The Mayor’s race: In 2019, we saw just over 15,000 residents vote in a five-way Mayor’s race, with Robert Simison leading the way. This year, it is a two-way race, with the incumbent Robert Simison and the challenger Mike Hon in the race. Voter turnout is expected to be the highest ever due in large part to the growth we have endured, and the ease at which voting opportunities now exist in Meridian (early voting will be from October 23 until November 3).
The City Council races: In 2021, we had just under 14,000 total votes cast for seven candidates vying for three city council seats. Now, for the first time, Meridian will elect their council by district rather than allowing the entire city to vote in each election (a rule by the Idaho legislature). Four of our six districts are up for election. One of the four races is uncontested (seat 4 held by John Overton is elected without opposition). Of the other three races, each has two candidates.
- Council District 2:
- Elizabeth “Liz” Strader
- Brad Hoaglun
- Council District 3:
- Doug Taylor
- Bill Chandler
- Council District 5:
- Todd Ebeling
- Anne Little Roberts
The strategy for how to get elected is for another (longer) blog. Here, I want to point out three simple ways a successful candidate can be successful in service. Look for these traits as you talk to them and share what you learn with those in our community. To each candidate I offer the following:
- Talk less, listen more. It is why we have two ears and one mouth. Our employees know their jobs better than you ask questions and listen before you think you know how it all works.
- Trust and be trustworthy. We’ve grown a lot, but we are still a small city. People will figure out quickly if they can count on you; don’t blow it.
- Live in gratitude. Be thankful for those around you who work hard to make Meridian special. You are a part of their life, so appreciate that you get to play a small role in helping shape their story. It isn’t all about you.
Any candidate that figures these out is ready to ‘get in the game’ as an elected servant for you and the city of Meridian.