Women's Month Feature: First Female Vineyard Mayor 02

Vineyard mayor Julie Fullmer poses for a portrait Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at the Vineyard Public Safety Building. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Political efficacy is a citizen’s trust in their government and a citizen’s belief that the citizens themselves can understand and influence political affairs and impact his/her political leaders.

Your voice matters. Your vision of the future is important. I truly believe the people’s voice maps the future of our city, state and country.

In November, there is an opportunity to vote for someone who will lead for several years and inspire direction for the future of the community, and the state.

It is critical to ask the questions: Does that person understand the moving parts of the city and its issues? Will the person do the work it takes? Will he/she ask the hard questions, and discover achievable functional solutions? Will the person encourage and facilitate political efficacy? Will the person root out opacity? Will he/she get to know you? Will the person get to know and understand the city’s needs and work to protect those needs at all levels of government? Will the individual be a wise fiscal steward? Will he/she understand that planning is just as much about today as it is for the future?

Recently, there was a post on a social media community site about being positive and not complaining about things happening in the area, but to be grateful for the good. In response to the comment, someone replied that it was through the avenues of complaining that things are accomplished in the city and state.

I want to acknowledge that a voice, no matter the tone, in Vineyard makes a difference. Bringing issues to light is of key importance because it’s through this community collaboration of seeing and citing an issue that allows for maintenance and change. I do not believe that this is accomplished by inciting fear and confusion, but rather through displaying facts, providing solutions, asking questions and providing answers or pathways to begin change.

The ability to connect with and influence elected political leaders is great in Vineyard, and I hope it remains that way. The ability to make the city great is penetrating. I stand by the idea that citizens champion change. See a weed, pull a weed. See an issue or need for change, call the city, write an elected official, come up with a plan. Get involved in all the ways that truly make a difference and choose today to be proactive versus reactive. There is no need to wait until it’s broken, or “deal” with something that could be better. This November we can vote in people who are a part of this process.

As a woman and the first female mayor in the city, I can’t help but think about my own political efficacy. It’s been about a century since the 19th Amendment was ratified, granting women the right to vote. To me, my vote represents my personal freedoms, my liberty, and my equality of influence as a human. I’m grateful for those who have gone before me, and those who serve today to preserve freedom and provide a voice.

Carrie Chapman Catt, an American women’s suffrage leader who campaigned for the 19th Amendment, said, “The vote is the emblem of your equality ... the guarantee of your liberty. That vote of yours has cost millions of dollars and the lives of thousands of women. Money to carry on this work has been given usually as a sacrifice, and thousands of women have gone without things they wanted and could have had in order that they might help get the vote for you. Women have suffered agony of soul which you can never comprehend, that you and your daughters might inherit political freedom. That vote has been costly. Prize it!”

These words are a reminder to me about what voting means, and the ability we each hold to make this place wonderful in every aspect. It was a vote by our forefathers that gave us the groundings of our America today, and a vote that gave a voice to all citizens of all races, and all genders, in order to provide influence to shape and preserve our freedoms today.

Let’s do something exquisite in Vineyard. Let’s get a phenomenal voter turnout. Each voice matters, and every perspective makes us better and more equipped to build a place we can all take pride in.

If you are reading this right now, take this six-step challenge.

  1. Decide today that this moment matters. Walk outside and look around you. What matters to you in this moment? Parking, shopping, housing, boating, bugs, street striping, RAP tax, Sodalicious, water bills, freedoms, public safety, etc.?
  2. Now realize you are empowered in the most direct way to make a difference as you choose to run for the elected position or support a neighbor who will step forward to serve the people of our city and state and be a voice. This is no small moment. Run for the right reasons, and understand the commitment. Declarations are done in person at the city offices Aug. 13-20.
  3. Get to know the current issues. What is being done about them now, and what are the current roadblocks or unseen issues or solutions. Call the city. Call current representation. Read the public information sites.
  4. Meet the people choosing to run for the position. Call them. Email them. This person is a big part of your political efficacy! This moment matters. Advocate and take the time to find out who they are, will they do the work, what’s their vision, and will they facilitate your ability to have an affect. Compare and contrast.
  5. Register to vote! If you need a ride to go register, let’s find a way. If you need help with the process, call the city recorder’s office at (801) 226-1929. Use this website if you have internet — https://vote.org — to learn the rules and deadlines and register online or mail in your registration. Vineyard is trying out a new voting system this year; ranked choice voting. This is a process where the citizen can rank candidates from their top preference to their last. If your first choice doesn’t win, your second choice might, and so on.
  6. Vote.

Vineyard has educational material, online streaming tutorials, open houses to learn more, films that show the process and example ballots available.

The real key here is to vote. In steps 1-5 you have done what it takes to bring you to this moment where your voice or your choice to run matters.

Vote from your house on the ballots the county sends each registered voter. Call in if the ballot is missing. If you have a disability or are away in the military, download and use the VOATZ app from your phone. Hopefully, we will all have access to this resource in the coming years. You may also come in person to the voting booths at the city.

Voting can be the most simple part of the process, and the completion of choosing to have your voice matter, to become proactive versus reactive, to ensure your political efficacy, and to act on freedoms in the most direct way.

Catt continues to say, “To the wrongs that need resistance, To the right that needs assistance, To the future in the distance, Give yourselves.” The vote is a power, a weapon of offense and defense, a prayer. Understand what it means and what it can do for your country (city). Use it intelligently, conscientiously, prayerfully.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!