Not that town politics are red and blue, but it surely feels that way more often than not. We like the color purple. It makes us think of civility, of compromise. Our candidates running for local office seem to be more and more red and blue. True colors don't always come out until after the candidates are elected and sit on a board or committee.

Passion about an issue is good; belittling others because your passion is more important than a compromise solution is not. Listening and even changing your mind after having listened is good; standing your ground because it belongs to you, even when you've been swayed, is not. Using facts and research to make decisions is good; taking the opposite side because you don't like the person who proposed the idea is not. Learning from mistakes and admitting them is good; digging up the past and saying I told you so in order to get even is not.

We have highly educated, talented, and adept public speakers running for office, but do they have what it takes to collaborate, reach compromise and move us forward? Do we have leaders who can be outstanding role models for our children on how to listen, to act with civility, to respect our differences and to be good team players? We ask you to consider this before you vote and make every effort to learn about not only where your candidates of choice stand on the issues, but also who he/she is as a person and will be as a leader. We need civil government whose example promotes volunteerism and public engagement. This is how we can build a community we are proud to live in. Your informed vote matters.

ELLEN SACHS LEICHER

KIRSTEN WRIGHT

Harvard