The Village of Whitefish Bay is holding an election on April 1st. Full election information and polling places can be found here on the Village website. There are several judges running for reelection and most are uncontested. The Village Trustee position and a school board position are also open. Whitefish Bay Now has a nice rundown of the candidates for Trustee. But, the more front-and-center local race has to do with the opening for Village President. The incumbent, Julie Siegel is running against Anne O'Connor.
What is unique about the Whitefish Bay Village Presidential Race is that Anne O'Connor has taken to Social Media and in-person 'office hours' to get the word out about her campaign and platform. This is the first time that local elections are using Social Media to gather interest about the issues and also spread the word about the platforms on which candidates plan to make changes.
Anne is no stranger to public service as she is the current president of the Whitefish Bay Civic Foundation, secretary of the WFB Little League and part of the Business Improvement District on Silver Spring. As for open communication, Anne has setup a Facebook page, a dedicated Website, and has produced a YouTube video (see video above). In a first for Whitefish Bay politics, O'Connor has also setup a Twitter account and is interacting with residents and supporters in real-time on the 140 character social network. With all of this access and even regular office hours planned (if elected), this is a welcome change for many in the Whitefish Bay Village looking for greater transparency and access so that they can voice concerns in local government.
A quick Google search for the incumbent Julie Siegel only leads you to the Whitefish Bay Village profile page and her LinkedIn account. That, some say is reflective of the way the village is run now. If you want information on the village, you can look to the monthly newsletter Bay Leaves, check out the website or inquire via village hall. But, the current administration doesn't seek much input from residents and there isn't much being shared with residents beyond the newsletter. If elected, O'Connor intends to keep all of her communication channels in Social Media wide open. She commented that under her leadership it will be a priority that residents feel welcomed at Village Hall, informed via multiple media channels and have a sounding board for their concerns.
One platform area that Anne O'Connor is passionate about is the environment. From the green spaces and parks in our village to the recycling and refuse pickups, Anne hopes to make a positive impact for residents. Residents have told her that they are very interested in weekly or bi-monthly recycling pickups to encourage less landfill use. She also feels that pesticides and other harmful chemicals used on village properties and parks should be replaced with aeration and natural weed-fighting solutions. That sounds like a good plan.
To learn more about the candidates, click the links above and check out the Social Media channels for Anne O'Connor. Remember to vote on April 1st, 2014!