Rockville elections are non-partisan and, when we’re at our best, driven by a sincere desire to serve the City and its people, not by adherence to an ideology.

The National League of Cities lists “Cooperation between elected officials belonging to different parties is more likely,” as a positive thing about non-partisan city councils. While our priorities might be guided by one set of beliefs or another, local governance should be about elevating the daily lives and shared experiences of each of us, and all of us together.

Non-partisan elections require candidates to talk about who they are through sharing a vision and a plan for implementing the needs of the City, rather than just saying, “I’m this party’s candidate” and allowing assumptions to be made based on broad brushstroke definitions.

The number of times I’ve been asked about my political affiliation while talking to voters across the City is notable. Even when I mention that Rockville elections are non-partisan, there seems to be a pressing desire to know. So I answer directly, and try to steer the conversation back to our sidewalks and streets, our parks and our growth.

I heard from a neighbor a couple of weeks ago that one of the county-level political parties has endorsed a City Council candidate. There is also evidence that special interest groups associated with a political party are ready to bring in resources from the county and state to support certain other candidates. The spirit of non-partisanship and cooperation across all divisions for the good of the city we love might be sacrificed in favor of a “win at any cost” approach to our local election. More than any other issue, this strikes at the heart of the question, “Who are we, and who do we want to be?”