Earlier this week, many Amarillo residents began engaging in dialogue about local government after the AISD board of trustees voted to remove part of the name from Robert E. Lee Elementary School. This dialogue made me begin to think about government and the type of leadership that Amarillo needs.
First, let me clear something up. As many of you may recall, I ran for the Amarillo College board of regents in 2017. While I was ultimately unsuccessful, I am still humbled and honored by the support that I received. I am forever grateful and I hold no grudges or regrets about what happened when the votes were counted.
However, I can say with 99 percent certainty, I will not be appearing on the ballot in 2019. While I enjoyed the candidate experience, I feel that there is more change that needs to be done in our media world. Unfortunately, gone are the days of Woodward and Bernstein, as we now have the days of CNN and Buzzfeed. In saying this, my focus is on the news in Amarillo and not on electoral politics.
With that being said, I still am convinced that Amarillo needs responsible leadership. While we all may disagree on what responsible leadership looks like, many people will agree that what we have today just isn't working on many fronts. Politicians are too busy looking forward to the next election, while disregarding the people who put them in office in the first place. Servant leaders have become a thing of the past, as many elected officials now look to serve themselves. We have politicians who get into bed with special interest groups and expect us to forgive them for any transgressions, while they repeat the same actions before and after every single election cycle.
What is the solution? Should voters allow our elected officials to come out of every situation unscathed? I think not.
Amarillo deserves new leadership. Last month, we reported that a 21-year-old construction worker was considering running against Mayor Ginger Nelson in 2019. The announcement sparked quite a bit of dialogue about the race and a constant theme was the call to action for a change in our government. However, that dialogue does not have to stop at Ginger Nelson vs. Parker Robertson. The dialogue begins with you.
If you want to see change at the county level, at the City level, at the school level or even at the statewide level, run for office. While you may think that you will be alone, chances are you will find people who are like-minded who will be thrilled to vote for you. All change in the electorate begins with one person who is willing to stand up for what is right. After that, all the dominoes fall into place.
Texas statesman Sam Houston once said that a person should "do right and risk the consequences." I cannot agree more. Amarillo deserves leaders at all levels who are willing to do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may. Amarillo deserves leaders who are willing to make the right decision without concern of the next election. Simply, Amarillo deserves real leaders.
So, if you want to run for office, do it. Change cannot happen without those who are willing to make it happen. Be the person who is willing to make that change in your community and risk the consequences.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief