Think hard as you cast your vote

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Everyone should know by now that we’re in a runoff in 18 wards – including the 24th, 29th and the 37th here on the West Side – and the mayor’s race. This is history.

And it means the public is getting some answers about the issues/concerns they’re been trying to get addressed.

It also means there are incumbents who are fighting to keep their seats and facing runoffs for the first time.

The political game is a game of money. The better candidate may not have the financial support or be as well known, yet they are the one who put in the most work for the community.

Those already in office have not acted on behalf of the people; they did what they wanted, and now are trying to convince us they have changed and have the constituents’ concerns at heart.

Removing 50 red-light cameras, really, why now and what effect will that have?

The mayor and incumbent aldermens’ push to raise the minimum wage a quarter a year until the year 2019 seems a little too late, especially when elected officials keep getting salary raises.

How does this show they’ve been fighting for the people and have the public’s best interest at heart?

Check out the character of each candidate and their track record. What do they do in the community, and how will they represent you? Are they representing you now?

If the answer is “no,” then they are not the candidate who deserves to represent the people for the next four years. Far too long, we have been sold out to the highest dollar.

We are stuck on familiarity; we are scared of anything new or any kind of change. City Council members should not be able to serve unlimited terms; they should get just two terms, just like the president.

The continuous robo calls are so maddening that people are not answering their phones anymore. You see more incumbents knocking on your doors than in the past, but none that sit in on our beat meetings or community meetings and address our concerns and take action.

This election is about power – who can keep the control, or who can take it away.

This election is important,  your vote is needed.

Let’s go back to the governor’s race, Pat Quinn vs. Bruce Rauner. All that campaign money spent, and promises have already been broken. Rauner has come like a thief in the night to steal the programs that will hurt the ones who need help the most.

The ones who suffer are the less fortunate. The rich get richer, and the poor commit suicide or start robbing to make ends meet.

The neighborhoods suffer, mostly the South and West sides.

How much more will we have to suffer for the decisions of others who really don’t care? How much will we have to lose before someone says enough is enough? When will character, morals and values come into play, as well as credibility?

When will the needs of the people come before elected officials’ needs? When will politicians look at the needs through the people’s eyes instead of those who financially supported their campaigns?

Until we push back, they will keep doing what they do, and we will keep getting what we get.

Hopefully, we will get it right April 7 and learn how to fight and what to fight for.

If  elected officials are doing their job, there is no need for them to get mad when someone challenges what they’re doing.

Fool me once, but never will you fool me twice.

Your vote is required. It’s not personal, it’s business.

Renna Thomas has lived in Austin for over 42 years. She loves conversation that “provokes a thought process” and helps “bring you back to reality.”

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