Because of selfless others and all their past sacrifices, we have rights that have been dearly paid for. Rights that we all must respect and live to protect, such as our right to free speech, the right we have to vote our minds and the right to run as a “write-in candidate” for the Williamson Central School District School Board.
On May 16, I exercised one of those precious rights and got to meet some of the most amazing people while campaigning outside Williamson Middle School. Asking people to vote for Kym Saunders and myself as we ran as the two write-in candidates of seven running for the school board. To my surprise, none of the other five candidates came out to meet and greet the taxpayers. No face-to-face understanding of what is on the voters’ minds. At the least, we handed out a brochure about what we stood for and that if they felt we are worthy of their vote, we would be honored to serve them, the taxpayers. It was a simple, straight-forward message.
From moms and dads with kids in our schools to citizens working two to three jobs since they were downsized out of Xerox, Kodak or what was Mobil Chemical, there are many tragic reasons why upstate taxpayers lost their jobs. Some were recently retired baby boomers like myself, 62 on Social Security and a part-time substitute teacher. There were senior citizens on fixed incomes concerned with state runaway taxes. I heard more than once, “If you can’t pay your school and town taxes, see how fast tax foreclosure takes place.” One World War II veteran said, “You know we don’t own our homes, the tax man does.”
I met people from all walks of life on voting day. Last, but by no means least, Kym and I met and spoke with veterans from WWII, known as the greatest generation. Not very many left to be cherished and honored. We met soldiers from the Korean Police Action, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Afghanistan, where my niece and nephew both served. Most all had some real, interesting stories to share and how our local legions and their Honor Guard units are struggling. Most all of these veterans and other local Williamson taxpayers who I spoke with are gravely concerned. If it wasn’t for an old-fashioned, face-to-face campaign for the school board, I would have never met all those common-sense driven, down to earth people. I am proud to be able to have the opportunity to exercise my dearly paid for rights and talk with so many concerned taxpayers in our town.
Many thanks go to all those Williamson taxpayers that took the time out of their busy, hectic day to exercise their precious right to vote. We had 66 write-in votes each for Kym and Greg. The first time ever that anyone beat Mickey Mouse as the decade’s standing record for the top write-in school board candidate.
The only disappointment we had was that Williamson has a population of 6,984 and only 546 voted. I was told by a past school board president the low number of voters only shows how satisfied we all are with our schools and overall reasonable no-impact taxes. If only 263 more taxpayers showed up to vote, things would have changed dramatically. Next year, Williamson, let’s exercise our dearly paid for rights and pledge to have 1,000 more voters actually vote in our next school and town elections.
Please take the time to honor all veterans. Visit any cemetery; they will be there. Watch or participate in a parade, just get out and thank them for their service and tell your kids about what the meaning of Memorial Day truly is.