Usually elections for directors of organizations like Standardbred Canada are garden-variety. In effect, an industry insider runs and everyone knows them, so they win (I would love to see the participation in these votes sometimes!). It tends to be the same people over and over again. Some of them are great people - don't get me wrong - but it is the same folks.
This year it is slightly different. When your industry is losing customers left and right, handles are going down, places like Iowa want to ditch horse racing and the flagship state for harness racing is a shadow of itself, there is a sense of unease in the way things were done. Like in the US, where "Tea Parties" sprung up in many states asking for change, there is a similar movement in the world of Ontario harness racing. There seems to be a true call for major change. This year, unlike all others, I will be voting for directors.
There are 13 people running, of which three will be elected. I am in the process of deciding who to vote for, as some of you are I am sure. For me, I have a few criteria that I will use. The candidates I like must be for change - the RDSP (or its ideals), customer centric ideals, and doing things differently than we have the last 25 years. They also must have some sort of business background, or vision for the future that is not old-school and yesterday.
Having a look at the candidates, here are a few of them that fit my criteria for an "x". You can look at their resumes here.
1. Marty Adler: Marty is someone that seems to want to shake things up. He is a television producer and understands that medium. He seems passionate about racing.
2. Ralph Clark: Owner and operator of Clark leasing, and he bought his first horse two years ago.
3. Jim Lehman: Seems to care a lot about this sport, and has a business background.
4. Robert Mackenzie: Trainer, smart fellow.
5. John Marshall: Supports the RDSP framework. Worked in company restructurings, mergers, acquisitions and corporate change and has volunteered time already on working with the simulcast program in Ontario. This is some new blood with real-world smarts. People with a resume like this do not come along every day willing to help this sport. People like him charge hundreds an hour, and tend to be worth it. This is an absolute slam-dunk vote for me.
6. Jody Jamieson: Supports change and is a good voice for it.
7. Alison Moore, DVM: Another person we seem to be lucky to have. She seems to deeply care about the health and welfare of our athletes and knows about the muddled infrastructure of government institutions who regulate our sport.
8, Aaron Waxman: Has called for a lot of the old-guard and old-thinking to be tossed, and change to occur.
After my vote for Mr. Marshall, I have to come up with two more. Is that a tough list to find two votes? Yes, and that is a good thing.
Off to do a little more research..... and I hope you do too, because it is an important time for our sport.