I think a lot about the term “representative.” To me, it is the most fundamental part of our government. We are a representative democracy. One where people elect officials to represent their needs in government. They do not do this lightly and are often disappointed when the person who has been elected to represent them does not respect their will.

There is a great responsibility that comes with being elected. In order to adequately represent people, one must understand their needs. This does not end once a campaign is over. It is a process that is ongoing throughout the duration of the elected official’s time in office. It requires being present and attentive to what their constituents needs are. The proper way to be a leader, and a true representative, is to know the people you represent. Speak to them, attend their meetings, listen to their concerns, and determine what they need. It may at times mean explaining why you have voted the way you have. But more often than not, it should be engaging with them through discussions about how best to guide the direction of our communities. Without this understanding, there can be no leadership, and certainly no true representation.

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