Daniel K. Whitehurst is incoming president of the Institute for
Local Government. He is a former mayor of Fresno and past
president of the League’s Mayors and Council Members Department.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People don’t want their public officials to be “leaders.” Marty
Linsky, a faculty member at the John F. Kennedy School of
Government, Harvard University, makes this point, and I think
he’s right. Voters say they want strong leadership, but what many
really want is the opposite: someone who will protect them from
having to change their minds or their ways. And they often get
their wish; there is no shortage of candidates who run for public
office not to lead, but to be popular or important.