Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Real change is a vote away

Letters to the editor
Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Real change is a vote away

I have never been one to view any individual running for public office as a savior or fix-all for our local or national problems. The American political system simply doesn’t work that way. Instead, I have always believed that “ we the people” should be the driving force behind government policy and that our collective vigilance is necessary to keep government on the straight and narrow. That said, I do acknowledge that there are some who rise up from the ranks of the people in order to seek political office — not for self-serving purposes but rather, because they believe in their hearts that we are capable of creating better situations for our communities and the world. There are three such people that I would like to discuss.

When Lioneld Jordan ascended to his position on the Fayetteville City Council early in 2001, I immediately became impressed with him. One of his first notable acts was to establish his now legendary Ward 4 meetings. Here was an alderman that sought out the opinions of his constituency. Here was an elected official that was approachable and who, I soon learned, often agonized over the decisions he had to make. In the seven plus years that he has sat on the City Council, Lioneld has truly supported the concept of open government, remained approachable and, most importantly, has always stood for honesty. Who can ask for more ?

In spite of the fact that many mainstream politicians, including both major presidential candidates, are talking about change, a quick glance at their proposals will show that once they are elected, it will pretty much be business as usual. In the race for Arkansas’ third congressional district seat, a golden opportunity for real change is in the offing as self-defined “ green Democrat” Abel Tomlinson is running on the Green Party ticket against Republican John Boozman, a man who has, for the most part, supported the disastrous Bush agenda since coming to office.

Tomlinson, who got involved in politics due to his horror over the invasion and occupation of Iraq, offers the voter well-articulated ideas for efficient universal health care, combating global climate change and the restoration of democracy and our Constitution. There is no Democrat running in his race against Mr. Boozman; yet, there is a very clear choice. In the Arkansas race for the U. S. Senate, incumbent Mark Pryor, who also has supported many Bush administration policies, has no Republican opposition. Still, Senator Pryor will face Green Party candidate Rebekah Kennedy, a young woman who stands as an intelligent voice for change. Kennedy is also interested in ending the ill-conceived occupation of Iraq as well as the widespread destruction of our environment. Further, she supports universal health care and well thought out programs for developing clean alternative energy sources while implementing programs which would delay the impending energy crunch. All three above-mentioned candidates offer real change for the voter. I hope that you all will seize this golden opportunity for real change.
Al Vick / Fayetteville

Walt Eilers would be a great mayor

As president of the board of directors for Let’s Bring Them Home, and as someone who is politically “ in tune” in my community, state and nation and is vested both personally and professionally in the Northwest Arkansas community, it is refreshing to see that Walt Eilers has entered the political arena in the quest to become the mayor of Fayetteville. I have known Walt and Linda Eilers for many years. Walt and I first met when Walt chaired (what was then called ) the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. In those days, my nonprofit experience was in the “ fledgling” stages. Walt’s leadership, professionalism, kindness and guidance not only inspired me, but taught me a valuable lesson: We all have something to give back to our community. And in this instance, Walt, as he always does, was serving the Northwest Arkansas Community, but he was also becoming a mentor... to me. However, Walt took his belief in the nonprofit work I am so passionate about a step further. He has selflessly volunteered his time and talents toward a nonprofit (Let’s Bring Them Home ) that I helped to found in 2005. In fact, Walt is an active advisory board member, supporting Let’s Bring Them Home with expertise in the area of fundraising and board development. Because of the long hours of volunteering and hard work, Walt, along with our entire exceptional board of directors, has grown Let’s Bring Them Home into an organization that is meeting the needs of children and families across the nation. And amazingly enough, Walt Eilers, like our other hard-working board members, has never asked for anything in return. Walt has personally spent countless hours reviewing documents, attending events, offering advice and lending a helping hand to further the mission of Let’s Bring Them Home. Why ? That answer is simple: Walt simply believes in making the world a better place. Walt believes in championing those causes and people that offer hope and help to those in need. And now, in my most personal time of need, as I face a health crisis and pending surgery, Walt Eilers stepped up to the plate without even being asked; he generously donated a pint of his own blood in my name. Why ? Because Walt truly cares. Fayetteville should be so lucky to have Walt Eilers elected as the next mayor. As voters decide which candidate is best prepared to run the city of Fayetteville and manage budgets, people and the like, Walt’s rich resume makes the decision clear: Walt is the candidate for the challenge. But as voters also weigh which candidate will lead from the heart as a servant-leader, it becomes even clearer that Walt, again, is the clear candidate for the job. Walt’s selfless devotion to the people and places that make up the city of Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas will make us all better people. I know from personal experience that my family is better for having known Walt Eilers.
LaDonna Meredith / Rogers

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