I’ve had some time to look things over, and to formulate my thoughts on the election and its results. So, here they are.
First, I am actually excited to see that from last year’s election, we almost DOUBLED the number of participating voters, from 22.2% of all eligible voters, to 38.6% of all eligible voters. This is good news for our democracy. It shows that on the local level we’re getting much more interested in the process, and want to have our voices heard. This is a great thing!
I’d like to start by looking back at last election cycle to see my personal results, and then compare those to this cycle.
Here were my 2022 Spring results:
I did half as well for the Village Trustee position as I did for the school board, which makes sense, because really the school board is where my heart is, as I really want the best for our kids more than anything else. I also had some VERY strong competition for the Village Board, as pretty much everyone else on the ballot were well known names already in the local community, and I had just gotten started. I talked with my wife about the school board results, and while my percentage was extremely low, she told me that I should be proud of myself for accidentally running against the school board president who’d been on the board for over 15 years. I’ll have to take her at her word for that, as she has experience with this kind of thing, having grown up in another small rural Wisconsin community.
Now, looking at this year’s results…
In the School Board Primary, I did almost exactly as well as I did last year’s general election. So I have to assume it was largely the same people voting for me. The fact that it’s a primary however, and many people ignore primaries and just vote at the “regular” elections makes me feel a bit better about my results. Even though I was the lowest vote-getter and got knocked off the ballot, getting as many votes in the primary as I got in the general election last year I think I should consider some form of win. The total number of votes cast during the primary was 1,257. The total number of votes cast for the School Board during this year’s general election was 2,454, with only 14 of those being write-ins. Making the assumptions that if my name was still on the ballot, and that I would have received the same percentage of the vote… if we just increased the total number of votes cast from the primary to match the general election and increased my votes proportionately, then I would have theoretically received 253 votes, putting me at third place. Now, of course, that’s a WHOLE LOT of postulating, and most likely wouldn’t match up with reality. But it’s a slightly comforting thought to blunt the loss.
I did SUBSTANTIALLY better in the Trustee race than I did this time last year. In fact, almost three times better. So that shows some good progress. This could be partly attributed to the fact that my votes weren’t “split”, as I’m sure last year that at least a good chunk of people believed that I should only have one position or the other, but not both. This year, with me being knocked off the ballot for school board, I most likely consolidated all of the votes I would have gotten. I’m slightly miffed that with the efforts that I put in that I barely got more votes than two people who didn’t do any advertising that I had seen, and didn’t do any canvassing that I’m aware of. Que sera, sera.
This year, I started my canvassing at the opposite side of the Village from where I started last year and worked my way backwards. Between the last two years, I’ve physically canvassed roughly 75% of the Village of Fall Creek proper. Being a family man with a full time job, my time is fairly limited in that way, and physically walking from house to house to talk to people is EXTREMELY time consuming. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to even TOUCH the more “remote” areas outside of the main village that are still within the bounds of the school board’s jurisdiction, such as the Towns of Seymour and Lincoln. I hope to get to them next year.
I have determined that, with the progress that I have made, that there is a good portion of my fellow residents that hear my message and agree with it. I believe that I’m starting to build what they call a “constituency”, and I thank them all for their support. It’s been a long, hard road, and will continue to be one.
I don’t get anything for “free”, because I’m not what they call a “native son”. The “Bennett” name is not a name that’s been in the Fall Creek area for generations. I don’t get free automatic votes from people that knew me their entire lives, because nobody in Fall Creek has known me that long. I have no family, and very few friends here. I’m not a very social person, and I know that I can be very off-putting and rub people the wrong way. I’m working on that, the best that I can. I’ve had to work for every single vote that I’ve gotten so far, and I appreciate each and every person that has blessed me with their trust and faith. Thank you.
I have decided to continue my efforts. However, next year I will most likely focus on one board or the other, rather than splitting my attentions between both. Which one I choose will depend on a couple of factors, including who else may be running next year for the open positions.
I will no longer be attending the board meetings that the majority of my fellow citizens have decided that they don’t want me at. I don’t want to be where I’m not wanted. Which means that I won’t be able to record those meetings and publish them. I IMPLORE both boards to do this voluntarily themselves, and show the community that they believe in full transparency, and that they aren’t afraid to let the public know how they behave and interact with each other. Meeting agendas and minutes only give the public so much information, and in my opinion, it’s not nearly enough. Non-verbal and verbal interactions between board members reveal a whole lot more about a person’s character than the way that they vote, often times.
I’m going to be reducing my Facebook footprint substantially. It’s been pointed out to me that it’s caused more detriments than benefits to my campaigns. People can misinterpret and take things the wrong way or only read/hear part of the message and ignore the rest. I’ve also been told that that constant presence there has become irritating to some, and if there’s one thing I don’t want to be, it’s an irritant. We need to be able to talk about important issues without getting personal, and apparently that’s much harder to do on Facebook. So I will be mostly restricting my own thoughts to this site from here on out. That way people can come here if they want to know and hear them, rather than have them “forced” on them. I also do much better face-to-face than I do in text format, frankly, as it gives me the chance to see people’s reactions, and respond to them in kind, explaining myself further or in a different way as needed to make sure the message gets across correctly and isn’t misunderstood.
I’ve pointed out to most people reading this the faults and the problems that I’ve seen. And I think a lot of people are starting to open their eyes to those issues. The first step to solving a problem is admitting that there is one. Now, I think it’s time to start working on creating solutions to those problems.
I will also be slowing down a bit, spending some more time with my family, less time walking around, more time thinking about what I think this community needs, and formulating potential plans for improvement. To start focusing on solutions, rather than just problems.
I would like to thank again those that voted for me. Your voices have been heard. It’s not a roar, rather a low rumble, but I suspect that it will be a constant one that will grow in time.
Finally, I would once again like to congratulate all of the sitting board members that maintained their position in this election, as well as congratulate Amy Kurtz for her big win on the School Board. I hope that she will make some positive changes to the status quo.