Hodge: Election campaign takes its toll on all candidates

Wow, that was six hectic weeks that went by in a flash, yet seemed painfully slow in the process.

Thank you Kelowna residents who took the time to battle cold weather to exercise your right to vote.

Wow, that was six hectic weeks that went by in a flash, yet seemed painfully slow in the process.

Indeed, in the words of Jackson Browne regarding the life of a musician, “The only time that seems too short is the time we get to play.”

Browne was referring to the time musicians spend traveling and the set-up and take-down for concerts, and how little time is actually spent performing on stage.

For those 31 folks involved in the recent municipal election, the last six weeks was a hectic time of preparing a campaign including formulating a platform, writing material for brochures and advertisements, setting up websites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, making or ordering signs, buttons, and for some (like moi) even balloons.

The time we actually managed to debate any issues was disappointingly minor. However, like unusual jobs such as working for the media, being an artist, teaching or sky-diving, tasting the world of politics is without question a unique and fascinating experience.

Six weeks on the campaign trail introduces you to a myriad of people with a myriad of issues, thoughts, concerns, desires, demands and opinions. By the end of the campaign, you have either developed a thicker skin or comprehended that perhaps the blood sport of politics was not for you.

Of the four municipal elections I have taken part in, this recent one was probably the most personally satisfying, yet likely the dullest as far as debates and candidate forums.

In the ugly category, it ranks number two, slightly behind the last one. While it may not have appeared as nasty to many as the 2008 battle royal, there was a lot of crap and cheap shots taken by some under the public radar.

Regardless, I have a couple of positive memories to pass on—insignificant to some but huge in my mind.

The public meet and greet held in Rutland was by far the best format for meeting voters and engaging in conversation—though other events such as the one organized by mayoral candidate Mark Thompson were good and welcomed.

In every campaign there are one or two characters you meet who stand out or become friends after serving time in the trenches together.

In the previous election I got to know Ken Chung and we maintained a friendship in the years since. During this campaign, I came to know what a big heart the man has.

While his love for Kelowna is huge and I was sorry to see he did not garner more support at the polls, he was a huge help to me.

Without a truck, getting my six large signs up was a bit of a task, but Ken immediately volunteered his time and truck when he heard about my dilemma.

It truly is the sign of a gentleman and a class act when one is willing to assist another competitor during such times and I will never forget his willingness to assist.

I also noted how willing he was to put back up other candidate signs that we found knocked over as we went about the town. Thanks Ken.

My second memory will remain with a young man named Aaron who I believe I first met at the UBCO meet and greet. Aaron asked me a number of excellent questions face-to-face and then later by email.

I was particularly impressed with the depth and insight of his questions considering I figured it might be his first time voting.

After spending a fair amount of time back and forth on issues, he informed me that he was not old enough to vote but was still keen on knowing how certain candidates felt about issues.

Impressive and encouraging behaviour from a student, indeed.

While I was disappointed in general with the response turnout and interest by students at both the university and Okanagan College events, Aaron proved to me there are young folks still interested in their community’s future.

Once again, my sincere thanks to all of you who voted, regardless of your selections.

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Here is an early tease on an amazing musical event taking place next year, July 24, 25, 31 and Aug.1, at Kelowna Community Theatre.

Plan now to take in the Raft of the Medusa, a fabulous musical written by the incredibly talented duo of Pat Brown and Randall Robinson.

Raft of the Medusa is based on the famous painting of the ill-fated ship, the Medusa, and portrays on stage the agony and darkness of the hardship endured by those who survived for weeks on a raft in the ocean.

Brown and Robinson are currently in a recording studio finishing the soundtrack of the play, under the guidance of brilliant engineer Jim LeGuilloux. As many folks may know, Brown and Robinson were the mainstay writers of the multiple award winning Kelowna band Ten2Nine.