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Matthew Cushman Submitted Information

IMG_541038291306855Charter Candidate Position and Release:

I am excited to introduce myself again to the people of Raytown.  My name is Matthew Cushman, and I am a lifelong resident of the City of Raytown.  I am a father of two terrific children, and a dedicated public servant.  For nearly 20 years I have been a Paramedic and for the first 18 years of my career I served the people of Raytown.  Serving both as a Paramedic and later the Director of Emergency Medical Services, I oversaw the entire emergency medical service system.  During my time as Director, the Raytown Emergency Medical Services system was recognized as one of the best in the State of Missouri and I was recognized as the Administrator of the Year as well.  In addition to being a Paramedic, I have also dedicated myself to educating others as a faculty instructor at a local college specializing in EMS training as well as other organizations.  My leadership in the area of EMS spans not only at a local level but throughout the region, and I am eager to serve my community again in providing a charter document that will be welcomed by the citizens of Raytown, Missouri. 

Since its inception, the City of Raytown has been a fourth class city.  There are many disadvantages and barriers to progress as well as inhibiting a truly open, representative government that appreciates the will of the people.  The people of Raytown have long had great ideas and as such there needs to be more power placed in the hands of those that live here.  The City has spent tens of thousands of dollars in lobbyists and staff wages trolling the representatives and senators of our statehouse in an effort to change state law to allow Raytown to do simple things that other chartered cities can do without State approval.  In an almost ridiculous fashion, Raytown needed to change a state law to change the way we sent delinquent sewer notices out.  We also had to change state law to get “permission” to place tax initiatives on the ballot.  No matter what your views are on those taxes that simply shouldn’t happen as the people of this grand community deserve the right of self determination.  In most of those cases, it took years to get any resolution from Jefferson City.  The people of Raytown deserve to make our own decisions based on the needs of the community and with our interests at heart, not dysfunctional politicians in Jefferson City.

 We have heard a lot of rhetoric recently about what a charter should and should not look like.  I have a very simple approach to how I will participate.  I come to this process with no outrageous agenda or with any preconceived notion as to what changes a charter should bring to our City. We all agree that the core principals of the citizen’s rights should be to petition their government and place initiatives of interest to them on a ballot.  We also believe in the right of citizens to engage in a recall process of elected officials when they believe the elected official violated the moral, ethical or legal requirements of their office.  Those provisions should be the cornerstones to our work on a charter document.  Those core rights are enjoyed by most of the neighboring cities in our area.  It is long past time that home rule came to Raytown.  I am eager to make those principals the foundation by which we move Raytown forward. 

 Now, Raytown has been down this road before, and in each case, we have come up short, thereby continuing to be at the mercy of the State Capital and the laws that govern fourth class cities.  I come to this process with no battle to fight, or score to settle.  I come because I feel I can make a positive difference as a commissioner and provide informed decisions based on the input of the citizens of Raytown.  It should be expected that the commission make good decisions based on the interests of Raytown. I have a history serving this community and am eager to do it again. There is little good in fighting old fights and continuing to point fingers or assign blame to the failed attempts to enact a Charter in our past.  What we can do is learn a great deal about what worked and what didn’t work.  Like all of the attempts before, there were areas of clear consensus and that should be our starting block.  There are also issues that are controversial.  I think that no matter how you feel about those controversial issues, they shouldn’t jeopardize the Charter process which is the only way for this City to get out of the fourth-class city classification. 

 In addition to that, I am a strong believer that all those issues should be given due diligence and given their time of debate before the people.   Just like I cannot rule out or rule on any of those “hot topics,” I can assure you that if I am elected commissioner, I will offer their consideration in a professional and appropriate manner.  Those issues should stand or die on their own merit, and shouldn’t dissuade support for a local charter.  Our constitution was not written in one setting. Basic rights were established early and over time, amendments and changes have been made in our history, and that same approach should be considered with a charter.  We shouldn’t lose sight of what we are really trying to accomplish. 

 I have been around and seen a lot.  I have seen when government works really well, and I have certainly seen it when it fails.  I think I offer a wonderful perspective, not attached to any faction or group.  I will not engage in the toxic venom that has both riddled the past and present political culture in Raytown.  I will offer genuine leadership and will always remember that this is the people’s process.  I am eager to begin this journey, but need your confidence and your vote.  I urge voters to look deep into this process and the candidates, and find candidates that do not have strings attached.  Our destiny is at stake.

 Great democracy and good government comes from the grassroots.  It comes from the minds and ideas of people that understand that their opinions matter.  Government should be transparent, should work for the people they are sworn to serve, and it should always be a reflection of the will of the people.  Great ideas are the seeds of progress and I hope that this charter commission will fuel a greater day for Raytown.  The people will win with a charter.  It is time.

 Yours in service,
 Matthew Cushman
Find me on Facebook, Matthew Cushman Raytown Charter Now

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