Monday, June 23, 2014

On the Brink: Tom Coale

Almost one year ago I attended Tom Coale's announcement to run for the newly-formed 9B seat for the Maryland House of Delegates. I wrote about the significance of his choosing to stand in the middle of everyone as he spoke. I am sharing that post again today because everything that has happened in the last year has borne those observations out: Tom is the kind of leader who is willing to take risks to reach out to others. He sees leadership as an interactive process. He is honest about who he is, he is open about his views, he is positive in his message.

Last year: In Medias Res

This Year: On the Brink

Tom Coale's candidacy is more than an ambition of one man. It is the promise that one really good person in public service can make a difference, and that his success will open the door to others who have the same goals: working together to make things better for everyone. If you think Annapolis needs someone like this and that Ellicott City deserves representation like this, share a good word about Tom today. Your personal recommendation is valuable.

I can't wait to see On the Brink move to Over the Top. #OpportunityforEC

In Medias Res (June 20, 2013)

You've seen a number of versions of this shot over the past several days, I suspect, some dark, some blurry, some much better. We all had our reasons for wanting to catch that moment. For me, the image of a political campaign (and let's face it, a political career) taking flight from smack dab in the middle of the staircase was compelling.

As a blogger, Tom has shown interest and thoughtful insight on both "Columbia" issues and "Howard County" Issues. As a Columbia Council Representative, he has been comfortable working to improve Columbia while understanding how we fit into Howard County. He clearly understands the relationships that will move things forward, make things work.

His forthrightness has made him a target for those who want to have things their own way. Clearly this doesn't bother him. Here he is, taking his place in the center of it all, to move forward in making things happen for Howard County. I dare say Tom chose this exact spot with the knowledge that it was the most central location to be seen and heard in the particular venue he selected.

If you care about clarity, you can't do better than to place yourself halfway down the stairs at The Rumor Mill. The point is made: I'm not afraid to be out here where everyone can see me. In fact, that's the whole point in a nutshell.

In politics much is made of "where I stand" or "what I stand for." On Tuesday night, Tom Coale took his stand in a position of great vulnerability--he would be viewed at all angles, all levels, all sides, and while people moved in and out of the scene from the main entrance and the kitchen. Some politicians couldn't handle that many variables. Some wouldn't allow that much lack of control.

"Proud Evangelist for Community Involvement." Consistent with this description on his Twitter account, Tom Coale chose to be in the middle of things on Tuesday night. He is clearly proud of his community, and excited to advocate for it. But the key for him is involvement.

Meaningful government involves the governed. And he wants to be in the middle of that: not making us look up to him in a high, lofty place, nor pushing us on by barking orders from behind. In A.A. Milne's poem, "Halfway Down", the central character has found a place to sit, and think, and imagine. Clearly Mr. Coale has done that, and more, as he has made his plans to run for delegate.The next step is, of course, to stand up. And he did.

If you were there, you felt the energy and sincerity of the moment. If you weren't, don't worry. If Tuesday evening was any indication, Tom will make sure to make himself and his goals accessible to the community.



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