As an East Ward voter, I want to speak to the results of Tuesday night’s election for District 1, East Ward: a race between incumbent Chris Smith and newcomer Susie Keck.
Keck won decisively in both early voting and on Election Day. As with every local municipal election, voter turnout for this race was still below what it should be. But, the fact that 33 percent more citizens voted this time versus 2013 shows people took an interest in this race and chose to have a voice.
What this says about our community is meaningful and of import to our future. Susie Keck was largely unknown in the community and untried in politics per se before she enthusiastically jumped to the challenge. Her strengths were not only an engaging personality and openness to dialogue but also that she proved attractive to numbers of voters not previously involved in city elections.
The incumbent held onto the same number of voters accrued four years ago, but could not expand that base. Keck motivated a whole new subset of voters.
Voter turnout in most American elections — from local to state to national campaigns — is sad considering the battles fought in our history to establish a democratic form of government, one man/woman, one vote. But at least in Covington’s East Ward race, one candidate reached deep into voter reticence, reluctance and reserve to inspire action and involvement.
The winner’s challenge now is to keep those new voters engaged in what can be messy, sometimes boring but always important business of making government work well.