Does your birth place determine your ability to lead?

What qualifications does a resident of Orange look for in candidates running for public office? Education and experience would seem the two most logical and important aspects to look at, though I’ve heard that some people actually consider where a candidate was born and how long they have lived in Orange as criteria.

For the record, I am proud to be Orange-grown and raised. Sixty-two years ago, I was born at St. Raphael’s Hospital in New Haven and came home to my family residence on Center Road Circle in Orange, where I lived with my family until I went away to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. at age 18. I and my husband and son moved back to the family house in Orange in 2013.

I am proud of the schools I attended, and the friends and family I have here. Some of my friends date back to Mary L Tracy School and some are new friends many who were not born and raised here. They chose to move to Orange for its school system or location or both, and they are proud Orange residents.

Does it matter how long you have lived in the town to be qualified to run for and serve in office? Is someone who has never left Orange more qualified to be a candidate for office? I don’t think so, and I don’t think many people would pass that test, in this era of mobility and movement.

Or is the right person for the job someone who understands the qualities that make Orange great and has the experience to bring new and fresh ideas to the table?  Orange is not an island that operates in a vacuum. It is a town in a county, a county that is part of a state, and a state that is part of the United States of America, which in turn is part of the global village.

Being born and raised here was great, but it certainly is not the most important quality we should be looking for in our elected officials.

I have been fortunate in my career to have met many different people who have lived in many different communities over the course of their lives. Some of those communities were in Orange, CT, some in Brooklyn, NY, some in Accra, Ghana, and some in Pretoria, South Africa.

The one thing they all share is belonging to a community…community is where your heart, home and family are, not where your birth certificate was signed. My hope is that people choose their leaders not on numbers of years lived in one location, but on the qualities and experience they possess and that they feel will best represent their needs and interests.

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