Reflecting after the 2019 elections

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Another election has come and gone. When people first talk to me about running for office, I always tell them the keys are: do a lot of door to door and don’t leave anything on the table.

I tell them this for two reasons. One, it’s really the only way to win when you are the minority party - ask Ed LaVigne, Lansing town supervisor, who won by fewer than 100 votes despite having a long record of accomplishments including new sewer and water service and building working relationships with other municipalities that didn’t exist before.

Second, and just as important, if you lose, you can look back and say there was really nothing more than you could have done. I don’t mean to sound too new age, but if you’ve given it everything you have and still come up short, it’s still an accomplishment to be proud of.

In Lansing, I saw Judy Drake and Jeff “Otto” Norman lose by less than three percentage points in a race for town board. They knocked on hundreds of doors, their direct mail was solid, and they campaigned on issues. In the end, they didn’t get enough folks to the polls to win. We congratulate Andra Benson and Bronwyn Losey on their victories and look forward to working with them to make Lansing a better place to live.

I also want to thank Katrina Binkowitz for her service on the Lansing board and all the work she’s done to make Salt Point a place for everyone to enjoy as she retires from the Lansing Town Board.

In Caroline, we saw Karyn Lyn Scott and Tony Tavelli lose by less than 10 percentage points and Peter Hoyt pull in 40% of the vote for town supervisor and Dallas Micha get almost 40% of the vote for highway superintendent.

They all went door to door, had solid platforms and now know much more about Caroline and their neighbors than when they started. We congratulate Mark Witmer, Bobby Spencer, Tim Murray and Irene Weiser on their victories and look forward to what they’ll be proposing and working toward to improve Caroline and the lives of their neighbors.

And in Dryden, Ronald Szymanski was able to win almost 20% of the vote in a three-way race; he worked for every one of those votes. Congratulations to James Skaley and Loren Sparling on winning the two open town board seats.

In the state Supreme Court, Chris Baker, Mark Masler and Oliver Blaise III all won judgeships. I’ve never seen three candidates work so hard in such a large district. They were at everything. Their Facebook feeds show them crisscrossing 10 counties over the course of more than six months.

In the end, congratulations goes to every one of these candidates, both those who won and those who lost, those who ran in contested races and those who ran uncontested. They’ve all done something that many don’t choose to, whether it’s because of the time commitment or the rigors of the campaign or some other personal reasons like family commitments or are restricted by their jobs.

I hope they all stay involved. There are so many other opportunities. I don’t know of a single group not looking for people whether it’s the Lion’s Club, Rotary, Planning Board, PTSO or School Board.

They’ve all taken that step to serve and get to know their communities better, and I hope in the end, they got to know themselves a little better.

In a recent race, I saw a candidate reconnect with someone they had a falling out with more than two decades before. They are now friends again.

Politics has become uncivil in many instances, but when it comes to local races, these folks aren’t in it for the pay and glamour, trust me on that. It’s truly to serve their neighbors and improve their communities, and I thank them all for it.

If you want to serve your community, contact me at mike.sigler@yahoo.com or through Facebook and I’ll point you in a direction if you want to be political or if you want to serve in a non-political organization.

I know a lot of people who say they don’t like politics, but politics are what you do every day: meeting people, working toward a goal, negotiating with clients, bosses, coworkers, wives, husbands, partners, children, and making your community better. If you have the time to give, there’s a lot of groups both political and not looking for you.

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