I find it curious that some people running for election celebrate parts of their lives about which they had no choice. Like whether they were born in Newport, how many generations their family has lived here, or whether they went to the local schools.

I’m much more curious about what people choose, like moving to Newport. Like deciding to raise your children in Newport. Like supporting Newport’s public schools and the quality of Newport life for we who live here. And what, by our choices, we choose Newport’s future to be, like making sure that our taxes enhance life in our community rather than how much we can save by cutting taxes, ignoring the far more difficult task of evaluating how well our taxes are working for us.

I value maintaining a balance between long term communal well being, and short-term personal profit and convenience. In my view, running a government has little to do with an electee’s popularity, beyond the respect they have earned through explaining complex issues to us. 

Who I vote for also has to do with whether they embrace the deeper responsibilities of leadership – having the ability to take the long-term view rather than pandering to any particular sub-group’s short term gratification. That’s what a follower does, not what a leader does. 

In the end, what matters when deciding who to vote for are two: The choices a candidate has made in their life, which says a lot about what choices they will make when elected, and whether he or she has the strength to be a leader and not a follower.

Howard Newman, Newport