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I recently ran, unsuccessfully, for a spot on the Old Saybrook Police Commission and would like to share a couple of observations for others who might think about, but be leery of, running for local office.
This was my first experience running for office. I started out being apprehensive about knocking on people’s doors or engaging them with my literature at the Transfer Station, not wanting to intrude on their privacy or their chores, but hearing from all quarters that this was what a candidate for local office had to do. So I did it, and guess what? The overwhelming majority of people are polite, respectful, and many are glad to engage with someone willing to put themselves forward for public service. Of course there were a few people, less than five percent, who were dismissive, curt, or outright rude. On the whole, it was a decidedly net positive and affirming experience, and not something to hold anyone back from engaging in the process.
The other (and unmixed) dividend from campaigning door-to-door is getting to know the various and varying neighborhoods of our community. Old Saybrook has many dimensions, and canvassing door-to-door brings you up close to people with a far broader range of situations and experiences than probably exist in your own (mostly self-selected) friends and acquaintances. You will be a more informed and therefore a better citizen for experiencing this directly, regardless of your electoral success or failure.
Last, you will get to meet a lot of very friendly dogs.
I thank the Old Saybrook Democratic Town Committee for having provided me with this opportunity to learn and grow.
Alfred “Chub” Wilcox
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