Thoughts about business and economic development in rural areas.

 

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Politics and You

Hopefully anyone who reads this will have gone out to vote some time today. Who you vote for is your business but voting itself is America’s business. 

While voting is important, involvement in politics can lead to some rather sticky situations. Especially in the field of economic development. No matter which major or third party you may feel strongly about, public displays of support on your part should be carefully considered. In most ED positions you answer to the public in general even if your organization is a private one. Taking positions on candidates is different than taking positions on issues. In fact, your organization may feel very strongly about certain issues and taking a public stand as an organization may be completely advisable in certain cases. Taking a stand on individual candidates is another kettle of fish altogether and in most cases should be avoided like the plague.

But what about you personally? Do you forfeit your personal right to publicly support a certain candidate or party because of your position? Can you separate your personal actions from your public position? Can the public separate your personal actions from your public position?

There’s no easy answer. My belief is that as an ED professional you should make every effort to avoid the appearance of partisanship in all actions related to your position. But I also just as strongly believe that what you do as a private individual is your business and yours alone.

No matter what you do I can guarantee that someone will be ticked off by your actions. If you do your job in a fair and thoroughly professional manner and make every effort to separate your personal actions from your public ones you should be alright but there are always risks and the line can never be completely drawn. Plus I can almost guarantee that some wingnut who is already out to get you or your organization will always be ready to reach for anything, especially if they are already upset with you over other issues.

When all is said and done the real bottom line is this. You are a citizen of the United States and with that citizenship comes rights, privileges and obligations. Exercising and defending them is not an option, it’s a responsibility. Now go vote if you haven’t already.

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