Guest Op-Ed : The Right to Vote, the Duty to Serve

By Mayor Brian M. Arrigo

Next Tuesday, thousands of Revere residents will stand in a sacred place and perform one of the most honored and solemn acts of individual freedom and American democracy.  The place is the ballot box, and the act is voting.

Although the mayoral candidates are not on the ballot in the primary, I can’t help but think about my own campaign for re-election and how important the right to vote is to democracy. 

In a sense, the campaign is a job interview. Each vote is an expression of trust and confidence in the person who has earned it, and ultimately decides who gets the job. This process is a crucial responsibility that U.S. citizens all share.

The right to vote for all Americans evolved over a period of time.  African American men could not vote until 1870.  And, it’s only 99 years since ratification of the 19th  Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote.  Eighteen-year olds were not guaranteed the right to vote until 1971. 

Over the years, thousands have fought and too many have died to protect the rights and freedoms assured to all United States citizens.  For this reason, I encourage all to register to vote.  Those who are not registered to vote in next week’s preliminary election have until October 16th  to register to vote in the November 5th general election.  This can be done by mail, in person at Revere City Hall, or online through the City of Revere Election Department portal on the City website

I have often reflected on the decorum of campaigning and the duty to serve that follows an election.  The people’s vote conveys a tremendous responsibility to those who are elected.  And that responsibility sets a high standard of conduct for those who wish to pursue public service. 

The elected official—and only the elected official—should personify the trust and confidence implicit in the act of voting. 

The elected official must set his or her focus on the community’s well-being, stay that course, and seek neither applause nor adulation for success.

The elected official must maintain a constant awareness that our words and our behavior reflect directly on the community and the people we represent.

As Mayor of the City, I experience the importance of that duty of serving the public every day.  Like every elected official at every level of government, I am expected to act with integrity, fairness, and in the best interest of the community as a whole in my every decision, in my every act, and in my every word.

The motivation to serve may come from many sources. For me, it was growing up in a household where my Dad, a Ward Councilor, discussed the pleasures, frustrations, and nuances of local government with me on many occasions.  It fostered in me an understanding of how one can make positive contributions to the community through public service.

I also saw how he spent pretty much all his free time responding to constituent demands, attending public functions, and preparing for countless meetings where his voice helped shape municipal policy.

I do not take the duty to serve our residents lightly and I ask that you, likewise, do not take your right to vote lightly.  Register to vote, and make sure you get to the polls on Tuesday, September 10th for the primary and again on Tuesday, November 5th for the general election. 

Your vote will provide a worthy few the job they seek, and command that they readily rise to fulfill the duty to serve.

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