As we head into the height of the election season, candidates need to heed the message from the Detroit Regional News Hub’s Survey.
If you haven’t heard yet, the Hub and Intellitrends conducted a survey, which took the pulse of the region from various perspectives including quality of life, economics, demographics, tourism and revitalization efforts (read the complete survey at www.thedetroithub.com).
If you are running for elected office listen up, voters in SE Michigan have a message for you.
Nearly half of SE Michigan residents say they love living in the Detroit region but most are frustrated by current conditions and believe elected officials at all levels must work together to revitalize the region. Not enough is being done, they said.
The study showed that 59 percent of Southeast Michigan residents do not feel elected leaders are working together effectively to revitalize Detroit and the region and all levels of government need to be involved in the effort. And, 80 percent of SE Michigan residents feel the Governor should be strongly engaged in the revitalization/reimaging efforts for Detroit.
Here’s the bottom line: The talk of regional cooperation has run its course. People in this region want to know what can be done to reinvent the Detroit region and when it will be done. They will no longer stand for campaign commitments that are disregarded after the election. They want those campaign promises kept and are no longer going to stand by and accept mediocre attempts to deliver them.
So, when you head out to town hall meetings, picnics, and debates, leave the political rhetoric at the door. Tell the voters what you are going to do to further regional and state-wide cooperation, how you are going to do it and when you will get it done. Back up your statements up with examples of how you are working together and will work together to attract businesses, create jobs and develop a mass transit system.
The survey shows that even though more than half believe we are on the right track, they also stated we have a long way to go. So don’t just tell us what you are going to do — start now — be a public servant even during the campaign.
As one 18-24-year-old respondent said, “Very little has changed over the years. You would think at some point elected officials would get together and say ‘we have had enough of this, let’s get something done and revitalize Detroit.’ It seems as if we are accomplishing very little.”
That respondent represents a huge audience who are looking for political leadership and will support the candidates they feel will work together. They survey showed that this younger generation – those ages 18-34 – holds out hope for improvement in the Detroit region. This age group is vital to the transformation of our region. They know it and they will demand you deliver, and deliver quickly.
Whoever leads our state in 2011, make good on your political promises. They have to be more than clever sound bites. They should layout a comprehensive, collaborative transformation plan for the Detroit region, and the state. And it better be one with timelines so do your homework and don’t promise things that are politically impossible. In short, be a true leader who lives up to his or her promises.
When you deliver your state of the state address remind us of what you promised during the campaign and tell us how you are making good on those promises.
With lost jobs, foreclosed homes and diminished property values around town, Metro Detroiters don’t want to hear the prepared political statement. If this survey teaches our political leaders anything, it is that talk must be supported by action.
We need public servants whose messages are supported with a plan ready to implement. We do not need politicians standing on political platforms for personal agendas.
You are elected to lead. Make sure the message you give at the podium is not just heard but seen by the actions you take. Show us what you will do, don’t just tell us. Lead us on a path of prosperity where residents will obtain a good education, jobs, transportation, affordable homes, and entertainment. Help create the quality of life so many politicians love to talk about as a priority.
When you out this season campaigning – leave the political rhetoric at the door. Speak truth and plan on getting something done … and done quickly. A crisis is terrible thing to waste.
Vanessa Denha is president of Denha Media and Communications. http://denhamedia.com/