District 4 Town Hall
A Charlotte City Council District 4 Town Hall Meeting was held Wednesday, July 31, 2019, at Crossway Church in Charlotte North Carolina. The host of this Voter focused bi-partisan event was Democrat Philip Benson, Chairman of Precinct 151.
Charlotte’s City Council District 4 Town Hall a win for Citizens and Candidates. The Citizens were able to engage with candidates seeking the position to serve and represent their District. Most importantly, they were able to ask direct questions and push for direct answers regarding issues atop of their mind. The Candidates had a unique opportunity to speak with Constituents representative of all of District 4.
Because this Town Hall was a bi-partisan event, both Democratic and Republican City Council District 4 Candidates were invited and participated. The host Philip Benson’s decision to offer an open invitation to both political parties to truly represent all Constituents in District 4 was significant given the current social climate of divisiveness. According to Chairman, Benson of Precinct 151, there was at least one Candidate that declined the invitation simply because it was bi-partisan. So, in short, the decision was made for the Citizens that they would not be given the opportunity to engage with a Candidate representing their District. What can not be taken from Citizens, however, where free and fair Elections abide, is their decision to vote.
Personally, as a Citizen, I was proud of each and every one of the Candidates for Charlotte’s City Council District 4 that came out to represent their Constituents (Richmond V. Baker, Renee Perkins Johnson, Charles Robinson, Sean Thompson, and Nora Trotman for Brandon Pierce. While there was a consistent theme with the response to some of the questions, if you listen carefully, each offered some refreshingly unique perspectives to both the Moderated, and Citizen questions reviewed. Truly Democracy in action.
I want to personally extend a sincere ‘Thank You’ to each and every one of the Candidates that made a decision to show up for their Constituents. Making yourself available to not only be subjected to Moderated questions regarding your Candidacy but most importantly being willing to answer direct questions from the Constituents you are seeking to serve is everything. One could argue this is a general expectation. Nevertheless, facing a community of Citizens one on one may be a bit intimidating however necessary to prove one’s commitment to serve. There are certainly instances where a Candidate simply declines invitations to engage with Citizens, be it a Town Hall, or debating their Political opposition. That should constitute a concern for Citizens seeking to know more about Candidates they are pondering placing in office.
It’s A Matter Of Respect
Not only did each of these Candidates decide to show up, or offer a Proxy, they were the epidemy of respect. They were respectful of one another, and the process. One such example, when Candidate Sean Thompson was inadvertently passed over for questions on two separate occasions, his opponents spoke out on his behalf and it was clear all was ‘Looking Out for Sean’. Both the crowd and the Candidates had fun with the overlook. Candidate Thompson took it all in stride remaining humble and embracing the humor of the unintended exclusions.
When it came to responding to questions, not one Candidate persisted or pushed beyond their allotted minutes when prompted by the ‘Time Keeper‘. Most notable, they were respectful to the Citizens that took time out of their busy day to come out and get involved in the political process. When a Citizen asks a question, respectfully, some Candidates requested clarification that they sufficiently responded before moving on. It was evident they wanted the Citizen to know they were heard and their concerns mattered.
Special recognition to each of the Citizens who had availability to attend, and made the decision to show up and participate in shaping their city through seeking opportunities to gain insight into each Candidate’s agenda for their District. This evening was for the Constituents of District 4. A forum designed to offer them the opportunity to voice their views directly to the candidates vying for the position of Charlotte City Council for District 4. So it was no surprise, some of the deeper questions came directly from the Citizens, making for a remarkable Civic Inspired moment.
While there was a nice turn out of Citizens for a Political event, at least one Citizen expressed the need for leaders to find a way to ensure all seats of the sizable auditorium were filled for events offering Citizens an opportunity to vote informed. The crucial information shared and the knowledge obtained was specifically geared towards Citizens feeling empowered when they head to the polls to vote in November.
The host of the event Philip Benson, Chairman of Precinct 151 chimed in after each of the Candidates offered general options for more Voter participation. In addition to asking that local Precinct Chairs be more proactive, he added each Citizen should seek to share information with friends and family, and connect with their District Chair for collaborative solutions. The Citizen that posed the question of concern was in agreement.
Something To Ponder
Citizens, keep a mental note for November 2019 Elections. When Candidates do not show up for Citizens in whatever capacity, should they expect Citizens to show up to vote for them?
If you are so inclined, take a moment to reach out in some way to each one of the Candidates that participated in Charlotte’s City Council District 4 Town Hall to simply say ‘Thank You’ in acknowledgment for making the decision to show up for the Citizens they are seeking to serve.
~ExpressYourselfBlog, Creative Commentary