Politics is Closer Than It Seems

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The word politics sometimes sounds unconnected to our life and our personality. It is common to hear neighbors or friends say they are not interested in politics, and that might even be your position or mine. However, we don’t realize that we ingest politics daily.

When we are choking on the dust that envelopes the streets of our neighborhood, that’s politics. That dust corresponds to the lack of management of our governors and the lack of concern for topics that involve health.

The stench of accumulated garbage due to not having a quality garbage collection service is also political. The dirty water in your house, the road in bad condition that your children take to school, having a place to take your grandparent for activities and to age with dignity, everything involves politics. Every aspect of our daily lives is a result of political actions.

Coming up on February 7th, citizens have the opportunity to elect the person who will be in charge of running and leading our canton, and therefore we cannot blindly choose a person aspiring to hold the office of mayor.

The role of the mayor in our communities is more important than what they would have us believe. The tasks of these local governors go beyond picking up trash and getting someone to clean up the central park.

The job description of these leaders needs to be expanded to include the economic development of the canton, managing community projects, increasing employment opportunities for their neighbors and fulfilling the human rights of each resident.

These leaders have the possibility of dialoguing with different public and private institutions as well as creating partnerships with companies to bring investment and jobs to the canton, working with the central government— and also pressuring it— to generate more resources, to approve laws that are needed in this part of the country, to ally themselves with government ministers like the ministers of health, housing and tourism and to generate strategies that position the canton in a way that is attractive for business, tourism and a good quality of life.

Of course, we cannot ignore the important administrative work that they should be able to assume so the municipal system does not detract from or impede our projects, but rather they should be an ally who supports entrepreneurship and the progress of the canton.

Periodically we have to take a little money out of our pockets to pay taxes, which is why we should increasingly demand that the money is invested in the best way in our neighborhoods.

According to Article 15 of the Municipal Code, the only requirements to be mayor are to be Costa Rican and an active citizen who is a layman—not part of any religious order—who has been registered to vote for at least two years in the canton where he or she would take office. As it is, there isn’t much of a filter to fill this important position, so it is the responsibility of every citizen to elect the best candidate with conviction and solid arguments.