After announcing I was running for the Texarkana, Arkansas Board of Directors for Ward 6, a common response was, “Why would you want to do that?” The negative feedback was overwhelming:
“You are going to have to give up a lot of your time for no pay.”
“You are not going to be able to make everyone happy.”
“You are opening yourself to criticism.”
As I pondered these comments, I would not be honest if I did not say I second guessed my decision on more than one occasion. However, I am an overcomer and truly believe, despite such comments, serving others is a calling we all share. We have gotten ourselves into a situation where government service is seen to be a political act rather than an act of civic duty or public service. I believe there is no higher calling than to make a difference in people’s lives and improve the world. Mike Huckabee once said, “If you want to be a politician, you cannot be scared to see your own blood.” Therefore, I have moved forward and by the grace of God I was elected to the position.
Public service must be more than a job done efficiently and honestly. In my roll, it must be a complete dedication to the constituents of Ward 6 and to the city of Texarkana, Arkansas. One of the best lessons I have learned is that not everything in a life well-lived should be about you. It is about service! Public service is about serving everyone, including those who may not support you. We must be willing to help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover, while public service improves others’ lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring to your own life.
So, why serve? As I ride the potholed, patched streets of Texarkana, Arkansas, I ask myself, “Why doesn’t somebody do something?” As I see litter everywhere, I ask myself, “Why doesn’t somebody do something?” Then I realized I am somebody!
This reminds me of the story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. “There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody would not do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.”
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people take personal responsibility for their lives and success. They do not procrastinate, they act. They set lofty goals and then do whatever it takes to achieve them. Take responsibility for your life and success. As the story of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody points out, you must act. Do what you need to do to become the success you want and deserve to be.
I have decided I want to become the change I hope to see in the world. I have never liked the word “Politician.” I like to refer to myself as a “Citizen Legislator.” A successful “Citizen Legislator” today must have and communicate a sense of intelligence and integrity and must work. 1 Peter 4:10 paraphrased says we should all use the gifts we have been given to serve one another faithfully, administering God’s grace.
In this new role, I want to inspire greatness from not only my fellow board members, but my mayor and the city staff. The most effective leaders do not just stand in front of people, they stand behind them too. You qualify to be first by putting other people first, and this leads to extraordinary outcomes. As a Zig Ziglar certified trainer, my favorite quote is, “You can have everything in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
It is very important for me to help my constituents move from being frustrated voters who are disgusted with the system, to engaged citizens who realize participation in public policy truly matters. We are at a turning point in this country. I feel it is our responsibility to join together in solving problems and making informed decisions that shape the future of Texarkana. These decisions affect us all! I did not run to push a political agenda; I ran to serve the public and make my city function better. Most people are looking for someone who will listen and make fair decisions. One thing I have learned in life is to always listen to understand, not to respond.
My life has been a gift up to this point, and I have been blessed beyond my wildest imagination. Wherever this ride takes me is where I am going.
I believe in faith, family and country. For me, it really is that simple.