Madison's mid-winter water crisis didn't lead to cholera, but there has been an outbreak of political enthusiasm. My hometown now has four filed candidates—Ashley Allen, Jennifer Wolff, Jeremiah Corbin, and Gene Hexom—vying for two open seats, and a fifth, Kelly Johnson, taking out a petition (deadline is this Friday, Kelly!).
Allen, Wolff, and Corbin all have Web presence. Hexom likely won't be online unless one of crony capitalist Darin Namken dispatches a flunky to whip up some placeholder page. Besides, the only people Hexom needs to talk to are his familiar old pals at the Community Center, not all those young complainers on their computers.
Speaking of whom, what are our youth candidates saying to the online electorate?
Corbin's new website leads with water as an issue. Corbin touts his experience as a source water protection specialist with the South Dakota Association of Rural Water Systems. He also has water all over his brief bio page.
Allen leads with infrastructure as his number-one priority. He talks water but also broadens the topic to include street maintenance and electrical issues.
Wolff's campaign website takes a less traditional, more bloggy approach. Her website so far lacks the standard landing and About pages that we get from Corbin and Allen. Allen does have a blog section on his website, but the blog is the homepage for Wolff. Water does not figure in Wolff's blog posts so far... but she does include some humdingers on the need for repairs to Madison's conceptual infrastructure. In this morning's post, Wolff details how Sioux Center is growing while Madison "stagnates," then offers this hypothesis as to why:
So why the dramatic difference in economic, population, commercial, industrial, and residential growth? For two towns that seem so alike on the surface, when you put them side-by-side, one seems to be floundering while the other flourishes. One relishes being a "little big city"; the other relegates itself to a "big little city".
Perhaps the secret lies in Sioux Center's tagline: "Progress Through Cooperation". This is a city that doesn't let itself be defined by its limitations. It's also a city that seems to embrace partnerships with other organizations and encourage active citizen participation. It has a comprehensive plan that provides a 20-year road map for Sioux Center's future and outlines seven goals. The first goal? Collaboration & Cooperation [Jennifer Wolff, "A Tale of Two Cities," We Want Wolff campaign website, 2014.02.26].
By the way, Sioux Center, like Madison, is still waiting to be hooked up to the Lewis and Clark water system.
Wolff mentions in another post that Madison seems to view "citizen input... as a nuisance rather than a necessity." In a democracy, citizen input is as vital as water. Wolff, Corbin, and Allen all appear to agree on that principle.