It is customary for many people to neglect the importance of the local mayoral election, which will soon take place in the city of Johnstown. Many have subscribed to those suspicions that portray our municipal governments and the elections determining their operators as largely ineffectual, rendering leaders who are unable to address the pressing issues faced by an economically troubled state and community. These issues have certainly caused young residents, such as me, to re-examine their willingness to remain in an area with a now questionable and uncertain future.
However, when I learned of Scott Jeffers' candidacy for mayor of Johnstown, I became a bit more optimistic as to what lies ahead for the city. I first met Mr. Jeffers when he began substitute teaching at a high school from which I recently graduated. I immediately noticed that he was direct, forthright and cunning. I was not only impressed with his remarkable knowledge of history and politics, but also with the lively eagerness with which he greeted every opportunity to communicate with his students. Students quickly detected his sincerity, and soon he became not simply a man whom one would see on those occasions when his academic services were requested, but a man whom one could confide in with the expectation of honest, insightful advice.
Still, it is perhaps necessary to delineate Mr. Jeffers' impressive resume. To discuss his services to the Johnstown Water Board, or to the various sports he has proudly coached, or to the community of SUNY Cortland, where he shrewdly managed a more than $500,000 budget as student government treasurer, is certainly a necessary component of the local debate, which will continue to intensify as the primary draws near.
However, I am not voting for Mr. Jeffers for any of those reasons. I am voting for him because he is bold, because he recognizes economic realities, and because he possesses and demonstrates an authentic effort to communicate with people of all ages. I am fully convinced he is running in this race due to a deep-seated love for the community in which he was raised and for those people around whom he has spent his entire life.
On Election Day, I believe there will be only one name on the ballot that fully represents the dynamic character of this community. That name will be Scott Jeffers.
DARRELL J. GETMAN