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Reposted: A Response to Scarlett Scarlett, I've been reading your political commentary since March, and you've always been a welcome and valuable contribution to the discussion. Thank you. I think you'd admit this: Your mind was set before Delores had even announced. A quick glance at the Cenla Antics archives will confirm this. Thus, it's never been about figuring out what value the other candidates may possess. That said, I also respect and admire Delores. She does, in fact, have many good ideas, and she has shown a willingness to listen to people about their concerns. But I think it's our democratic obligation to educate ourselves about all of the candidates and then choose who is best. I'm not speaking for Jacques. Please keep in mind that I entered this discussion months ago, before I even knew Jacques. As many of you know, I have thoroughly researched all of the candidates, though I haven't had the opportunity to meet with Joe Fuller or Alice Hammond personally. My decision to support Jacques was not based on any pre-existing loyalty. I'm speaking as a concerned citizen. Thirty-five may be young, but it's not that young. If Jacques wanted to, as our Constitution provides, he could run for President. This provision was added in recognition of the fact that 35 is an age of professional maturity. I'm not sure what comments Jacques made that you perceive to be immature, but everything I have ever heard from Jacques leads me to believe that he fully appreciates the demands of our community, the nature of our current growth, and the scope of mayoral authority. I believe his age is an asset, and judging from support he's garnered in the past few weeks, many other people, both young and old, also feel the same way. So it comes down to the issues. This should be an issues-based campaign. I listened to all of the candidates at the forum, and you're right, we're still in the very beginning and everyone's not as polished as they will be a month from now. But Jacques said a few things that stood out: -Growth in Alexandria must be controlled and planned properly. I believe he called this "controlled progressivism," the notion that we can expand without harming our sense of community. -Transparency should be a requirement of government. Citizens should be fully aware of every single consulting contract, every single proposal out for bid, every single issue of importance. -We must accept the fact that Alexandria has changed dramatically during the past twenty years, and to that end, it is critical that we elect a leader who responds proactively to this change. It may be true that, unlike Dr. Sams, Jacques (as well as Delores) did not itemize a list of specific projects he hoped to accomplish, but this is because at this point, such statements would be (borrowing one of your words) "immature." Instead, Jacques spoke about projects the City had already researched and analyzed, like the proposed loop, and he spoke about the need to accomplish goals in a swift manner, instead of waiting eternally. There's a risk in promising specific projects: What if the Bentley does, in fact, sell? What do we do with City Hall then? What happens to this vision of Downtown Alexandria? How can anyone guarantee that a business will trade locations or that developers will swoon over the opportunity to renovate dilapidated properties? (Unless, of course, these agreements have already been forged before the election, and then again, we're faced with the issue of transparency). Our next mayor should not, at this point, unilaterally jump to conclusions without fully understanding the facts. Instead, he or she should be willing to learn, adapt, and evolve. He or she should lay out a comprehensive vision, a methodology, a way of thinking about our future and our growth. Respectfully, Lamar Columbia News Service: Elected Officials 35 and Younger, courtesy spinoj07 COLUMBIA News Service A study completed last year by Rutgers University, which will be published in an upcoming monograph, found 814 elected officials under the age of 35 around the nation, including six members of Congress and three state executive officials. The study showed that compared with members of their generation who do not hold office, the young politicians are more likely to become involved in civic organizations, consume as much news as possible and come from more educated families. The study also defined the group as issue-oriented self-starters who were very active in college organizations. The Rutgers report notes that many prominent national officeholders started out as young elected leaders, and that several U.S. presidents held this distinction once themselves. The nation has already had one member of Generation X take the helm of a state, former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift, who was 36 when she took office, while the mayors of San Francisco and New Paltz, N.Y., are both under 35. Sean Kelly, a political science professor at Niagara University and a former congressional research fellow, said it makes sense for the younger electeds to move to the forefront of political issues. Societal conditions have also influenced the younger officials' fiscal policy, he added. "Fiscal conservatism is something that unites them as an age group," Kelly said. "The first president they knew was Ronald Reagan, and they heard a drumbeat of lessening government while growing up." Rutgers will follow the study with networking events for young elected leaders from around the nation. Last May, the institute sponsored the first event, where 50 officials came together to discuss holding office and getting more young people involved. The young leaders said their age has given them a different perspective in dealing with issues facing youth and how they approach them. Many officials who have won high-level offices were 35 or younger when they FIRST held elective office: U.S. Presidents during the 20th/21st centuries 12/19 (58%) U.S. Senators serving in 2003 57/100 (57%) U.S. Representatives serving in 2003 215/435 (49%) Governors serving in 2003 25/50 (50%)