This election was heavily influenced by Irving’s push to build a multi-million dollar entertainment complex as well as by broader budget concerns, and although Putnam was very clear during his campaign about his opposition to the Entertainment Complex and the 60/40 law, he was rather cryptic about what he will do immediately after he takes office.
“I think we have a lot of issues that are going to require a lot of hard work,” Putnam said. “So this is simply going to be about getting down to business and trying to do the business of the City.”
Not all voters were overly concerned about individual issues, however. Many were looking for a well-rounded candidate who would be able to make a solid, intelligent decision no matter what issue might rear its ugly head.
One such voter, Rachael Shipp, was very firm about electing a strong, moral individual to the City Council.
“The most important thing I look for in a candidate is where they stand spiritually, and what they can offer to the city based on their religion,” Shipp said. “If you don’t stand for anything, you’ll fall for anything. I know what they stand for, then they’ll put the right vote where it should be.”
Another voter, Kenneth, had some broader issues he we wanted addressed but still came back to the idea of an ethical candidate.
“Continuing good education in important to me,” Kenneth stated. “I really vote for the morals, that candidates meet the same standards that I have. I want to continue to keep Irving a good place to live”
While waiting for the final election results at City Hall, Ken Boozer intimated that both candidates had strong characters that would serve the city well.
“I think in this particularly election Irving wins either way. Both of them had very similar goals, and it was just a different personality and how they were going to get things done,” Boozer said.
Although he lost the election, Riddle had very few regrets about the process.
“I ran it pretty much just the way I wanted to,” Riddle said. “I didn’t want to be one of these in your face people; I didn’t want the people who supported me to be in your face. I like the laid back approach, and felt like if people thought I could do the job they would come out and vote.
“I think some of the negative things that were said were a little hurtful at times. I think mainly because they didn’t get to know me before they made some of their statements.”
Although not everyone agreed on the issues, the general consensus on both sides was that this was a very civil City Council race as opposed to some the City has had in the past.
“This is one of the most boring races that I’ve ever been involved in, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. It was a good, clean honest race, and I liked it,” Kinsley Stewart chuckled.
Steve Hillier, an election judge at John R. Good Elementary School agreed with Stewart.
“This is one of the cleaner ones we’ve had – not as much dirt between them like last year and the year before,” Hillier said.
One of the most inspiring parts of the event was the community involvement it inspired. Brittany Rose and Erica Pena are two Irving high school students who assisted with the Putnam campaign.
“We stood in front of City Hall passing out cards and flyers,” they said. “It’s a lot of fun. We really enjoy meeting new people in Irving, seeing their view and what they want for our city.”
Although neither girl knows what campaign they will tackle next, they are both looking forward to being involved with the nervous system of their city in any way they can.
John Barbosa, a city employee who works for the Parks and Recreation department comes down to watch the election results every year.
“I have a concern for what goes on in our city,” he said.
It was good to see so many people taking part in politics with a spirit of gentility and fair play, and with Putnam’s track record with the City, people from all parts of the city are interested to see what the next few months will hold for Irving.