A Candidate & A Voter: Guide to Decide 2018

Dear Friend, Neighbor, & Constituent,

On June 26th Democratic Primary voters in Bethesda will face 128 candidates on their ballot, including me. Though I am a candidate, I am also a voter. In addition to voting for myself in my race I’ll be voting in many other candidates who are seeking to represent me in different levels of government. Allow me to share the questions I ask myself to determine whom I will vote for:

1)    Have they been present? It’s been said that 90% of life is about just showing up. I am very active in Bethesda and have attended most political and community events in the area. If I haven’t seen or heard of a candidate in the community before last September then they won’t have my vote.
2)    Are they responsive? It’s important for elected officials to understand that they work for their constituency, not the other way around. When I contact someone by phone, email, text, or when I raise an issue with them in person, I expect them respond or follow-up promptly. Those candidates who quickly return my calls and emails will be top contenders for my vote.
3)    Are they competent? Elected officials need to understand the details of the issues before them. It is insufficient to substitute platitudes for substance. I look for a brain in every candidate who I support.
4)    Do they have backbone? Elected officials must recognize that they will never please everyone all the time. Elected officials must be able to sacrifice their personal, political self-interest to the public interest that they are elected to represent and sometimes that means standing up to allies. While it’s easy to say “No” to enemies, I look for candidates who are able to say “No” to friends too.
5)    Do they care? I look for a big heart in every candidate who seeks to earn my vote. I look for a track record of public service that indicates that they have taken an interest in improving the community of which they are a part. Having been successful professionally is well and good but is insufficient on its own to demonstrate that they care.

Perhaps these metrics will likewise prove useful to you in winnowing down the imposing field of candidates, as they have been useful to me.

Jordan Cooper