Last Tuesday, a majority of voters in the city of Troy voted to recall Mayor Janice Daniels. With this action on the part of the citizens of the city, our community chose to go in a new direction, one that hopefully will be less partisan and more focused on the needs of our community. I’ve lived in Troy for less than five years, and while I’m not as active in the city’s public life as some, I have sought to be engaged. I entered into the debate about the fate of our former mayor, because I believed that her ideologically driven focus and the way she comported herself as mayor didn’t bode well for the city. That era, however, is now over and we can look forward to a day of new beginnings. Indeed, that day has already begun to unfold.
As I look to the future of our city, a hymn that we sing at church came to mind. Written by Brian Wren it’s entitled “This is a day of new beginnings,” and while the hymn speaks of beginning a new life in Christ, I think that the opening stanza speaks to our situation here in Troy.
This is a day of new beginnings,
Time to remember and move on,
Time to believe what love is bringing,
Laying to rest the pain that’s gone.
-Brian Wren, 1987, Hope Publishing Co.
Last week Mayor Pro Tem Maureen McGinnis was sworn in as acting mayor, and tonight she’ll pass the baton on to Dane Slater. I believe that the remaining members of the City Council can work together to change the tone of our community’s conversation. I first met both of these Council Members when they were first running for Council. I was invited to a “Meet the Candidates” social, and I was impressed by their commitment to the good of the city and their understanding that this position of Council Member was non-partisan, and that their first duty was to serve the residents of this city – whatever their politics.
So, here is my plea. First to the citizens of Troy – let’s be vigilant, informed, and involved in the life of this city. If we believe in the values of the American Republic, its freedoms and its opportunities, then we need to remember that the foundation of this republic is the local community. As we learned with the election of Janice Daniels or the recent millage elections, it’s not just the big elections, the Presidential elections, which matter. Indeed, perhaps we should start to consider what happens at the local level the really big elections and therefore attend more closely to the results. The number of people voting in last Tuesday’s election was double that of those who voted a year ago when Janice Daniels was elected. It would be good to remember the saying attributed, I believe, to Tip O’Neill, that “all politics is local.” If we wish to see a change of tone at the state and national level, then perhaps the place to begin is here at the local level.
With a plea first to the citizens of Troy, I now turn to the elected leaders of Troy. At the moment we have six council members, one of whom will serve as acting mayor – at least until a mayor is appointed. It is my sincere hope – and my prayer – that these six individuals, whatever their political or ideological differences, will commit themselves to pursuing the common good for the citizenry of Troy, that they will recognize the growing diversity present in this city and seek to represent this increasingly diverse body of residents with wisdom and grace.
And I will commit myself to prayer for the city and to make myself available to this process of bringing about this new day of new beginnings. I do so as a local pastor concerned about the community in which I serve. I do so as a leader in the local interfaith community. And I do so as a resident, a citizen, of this community that is now my home.
May a new day be born for the people of this fair city!