The post for which I am running is a non-partisan seat. I think that the essential issues of the library tend to be even in the most contentious times consensus issues. When you start to discuss issues of literacy, training, community collaboration, and support for our children, there is a very human thread that allows consensus. Now, consensus may be philosophical but in general there are some human themes at work here that have a universal appeal.
Taking this perspective then invites the question, why did I seek a Democratic endorsement for my candidacy for a non-partisan? I sought an endorsement from the Washtenaw County Democratic Party for two reasons. The first is that in knowing this organization and the alignment of perspective at a local level I wanted to have this affiliation. It is an important indicator for those who may not know me personally or aren't getting enough information about me through the web/press/media etc. It allows those people who maybe don't have enough time or forget to drill down into the ballot to quickly and confidently identify candidates with whom they can be comfortable. When one looks at the salient issues in the library race- education, literacy, social support, and human service- I wanted people to know I am a Democrat (whether they agree or not) so they can quickly know what they are getting. I am pro-education, pro-teacher, pro-arts, and in favor of supporting those public institutions and agencies that support the educational attainment of our community's most at-risk. Having the endorsement of the party locally helps potential voters locally and with similar values be confident in their vote for me.
The other reason I felt it important to align myself with the Democratic Party this election was moral and ethical. I will spare the world my own personal deconstruction of how issues have or have not been treated on the national stage. That said, I have never in my life seen the rhetoric of hate, fear, and xenophobia as open and as unapologetic as I have in the Republican nominee for president. While I have rarely agreed with the national republican platform, I have never been fearful of it. The introduction and passive acceptance of so much of this language and thinking at the highest level of our political discourse frightens me. I want to be a role-model to my children, my neighbors, and to the community I hope to represent on the AADL board. At a time where some voters are making wholesale decisions based on the presidential candidates and national conversation, it was important that people understand that I fully reject the type of thinking that threatens to undo years of progress. In this election season, more than any other, I needed to formally ally myself with Democratic Party not only to show what I agree with but more importantly to show what I am willing to fight against.
There are three candidates endorsed by the Washtenaw Democratic Party, myself and two others. A straight ticket ballot will not cast your vote for the non-partisan Ann Arbor District Library seats. I encourage you to know every candidate and to vote your full ballot. This election season I want to encourage voters to cast the ballot they feel will best promote education, social justice, and an inclusionary perspective. This is what I strongly feel we need to move our country and our community forward.
Dr. Steven Simpson is currently the President of Baker College of Jackson and is seeking a position on the Ann Arbor District Library Board of Trustees in the November 2016 election. Additional information about Dr. Simpson and his candidacy can be found at www.simpsonaadl.com. You can reach Dr. Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter@simpsonaadl.