Houston Forward Times

09 October 2013 Written by  Jeffrey L Boney

HEY POLITICIANS…HOW BAD DO YOU WANT MY VOTE?

Voting BallotAll across the African-American communities of Houston and the surrounding areas, registered voters are crying out for the folks seeking to hold elected office, to reach out to them and help them better understand how they plan to represent them and positively impact them on a daily basis. 

I am one of those registered voters.

We are demanding that the same energy and efforts that you used to garner our votes, be duplicated when it comes to representing us, fighting for us and educating us about an issue that impacts us.

Sadly, many African-American voters are not as familiar with the role of most elected positions, I mean other than that of President of the United States or maybe the Governor of their respective state. 

Then you have those who don’t vote at all, which is another story in itself.

If African-Americans would take a moment of reflection and think about whether current elected officials (not just the African-American ones), bust their butts and did what it took to fight for their community and educate them on major issues and other critical information, we would honestly begin to see the true reality.

All elected offices impact us in some way and to simply ignore that and choose to be ignored is not smart. It is extremely important we exercise our right to vote, as well as understanding who and what we are voting for in every position on the ballot.

Elected officials are extremely integral to the landscape of our society.  Holding elected office is not just a position, it is an honor and a privilege.  It is important for citizens to know that these elected officials make decisions on many key issues and matters that impact our daily lives, from your neighborhood to your city, county, state and even the nation. Every ordinance, policy and law that is passed, was introduced and voted on by an elected official.  Elected officials have and continue to make decisions on everything from your taxes, education, house appraisal, health, voting and the environment.

Every single issue, implemented policy change or law that impacts the Black community should be shared in layman’s terms to the community.  Many people don’t understand the legal and political jargon, but a politician can help their constituents by empowering them with information.  Just like an interpreter is there to decipher the words for people that don’t understand differing languages, elected officials and those seeking higher office must be the interpreter for their constituents and provide clear meaning to policies and laws.

Many elected officials that currently hold office take the African-American community for granted, knowing that most will never take the time to research key issues.crooked corrupt politician Many of our elected officials will never truly reach out to the Black community to ensure that we are educated on the issues or the importance of what they plan to do in our communities. It is time out for just letting elected officials run up in our churches, give a rousing ten minute speech and then disappear from our churches and our communities until the next election cycle, where they want our vote.

The African-American community wants leaders that will dedicate themselves or their staff to go out in the community and educate the community and constituents.  Granted, not every elected official can attend every event; however, they can effectively spend money and time to train individuals on their staff to represent them and be their mouthpiece in the community; communicating critical, time-sensitive and important information.

Take a good look at the current elected officials or the challengers that are seeking elected office. They should be challenged to explain why they are running for their position or why they should be re-elected.  We should not just give them our vote because they are an African-American office seeker or because they are the incumbent or because they are in a particular party.  Nobody outright owns the African-American vote.

These are some very important times and those seeking elected office need to figure out how to reach potential voters in the African-American community. Strategic preparation is the most important part of what current elected officials and their challengers will have to do to better understand how to reach African-American voters.

Those seeking to earn the right to represent us must use creative methods and ways to capture our attention. Simply getting African-Americans to vote is not enough; African-Americans must be educated on the importance of voting and what they are voting for. 

Are incumbents comfortable in their belief that African-Americans don’t care and will vote for them strictly on the strength of their tenure and resume? Are they no longer hungry for the vote of the African-American community, because they believe they will get it anyway?

If you are a leader and no one is following you, you are just taking a walk.  A lot of politicians are just taking a walk because they have nobody following their level of progression or growth.

If the constituents of elected officials have not progressed, and are no more educated or advanced as a result of that lack of leadership, then the taxpaying voters should not continue to vote for them.  An informed voter is an educated voter. Those seeking office and seeking to remain in office should do everything they can to inform and educate African-Americans, starting today.

The African-American voter is a sleeping giant, and as soon as we wake up collectively, every person seeking office better watch out and start going the extra mile to reach us, because your days as an elected official could soon be numbered.

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper.  Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance.  If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .