AARC Elections: Why Your Vote Counts! 

 Published: September 14, 2023

By: Debbie Bunch


September 14, 2023 

 We all know voting is both a right and a privilege. It’s also an obligation for anyone who wants to have a voice in how things are run, whether that be in federal, state, or local government or an organization like your child’s PTA or the committee that oversees your neighborhood homeowners association. 

It matters in terms of the AARC too. Only by casting your ballot in the AARC Elections that take place each fall can you enjoy the full benefits of your AARC membership, because only by voting can you help to choose the people who will lead the organization into the future. 

Where does the process start and how does it play out? We asked members of the AARC Elections Committee to explain.  

Casting a wide net 

“The AARC Elections Committee is in charge of drafting a slate of candidates for national offices each year,” explained Committee Member Sheila Guidry, CRT, from Houma, LA.  

These five members— three elected by the House of Delegates, one elected by the Board of Directors, and the AARC past president — shepherd a process outlined in the AARC Bylaws that begins with a call for nominations from the Board of Directors (BOD), House of Delegates (HOD), and membership at large.  

“The process involves an email to all AARC members inviting nominations of the specific slate being elected that year,” said Committee Chair Sheryle Barrett, MS, RRT, from Boynton Beach, FL. “State societies are involved in that the House of Delegates and Presidents Listserve are also specifically targeted to nominate, along with the BOD, Specialty Sections, and committees.  

Alexia Melling, MHSA, RRT, chair-elect of the committee from Casper, WY, emphasizes the important role played by the state societies via their HOD representatives. “The nominations that are given by the HOD should start with a discussion in the state societies to see who they think would be a great representative for them as members.” 

Candidates must pass muster  

According to Barrett, the committee ensures the candidates meet established criteria for the positions they are seeking a nomination for, and the AARC also vets candidates using a list of questions developed by the committee to gauge their positions on key issues facing the profession.  

“There are two global questions and one question specific to each role — president-elect, Board member, section chair, etc.,” said Guidry. “The committee chair selects the final questions with help from the committee members.” 

Nominees are asked to submit their answers via a candidate information form and are also requested to submit biographical information outlining their accomplishments in the profession. “Once the nominations are received, the Elections Committee ensures the candidate meets the written criteria for the position,” said Barrett. 

Melling says the vetting process is essential in ensuring the AARC has qualified candidates. “We research the candidates to see if they match the qualifications that are in our bylaws for the position they are nominated for,” she said. 

After all the information is in, the committee then reviews the complied data, assesses the qualifications of the nominees, and decides on a final slate of candidates that will be voted upon by the membership in the fall.   

Sections follow similar path 

The Specialty Sections go through a similar process to select candidates to lead their groups. Jon Inkrott, RRT, RRT-ACCS, is chair of the Surface & Air Transport Section, which will be electing a new chair-elect this year. He says any member of his section can nominate another member, and once the final choices have been confirmed as eligible by the Elections Committee, they go on the ballot.  

Like the candidates for national office, the Specialty Section candidates also answer a list of questions on how they can best represent their groups and what ideas they have for moving the section forward. 

Inkrott says his section asks about their individuals goals for the section and why the person is seeking the position.  

“I firmly believe that every election cycle that we vote for a section chair is vital to the survivability of the section, and also serves as your voice as section members when it comes to the day-to-day of the AARC, and more so, the activity and engagement of the section,” he said. “Participation is so important when it comes to supporting your section and your section chair.” 

Your voice matters 

Sheryle Barrett, Sheila Guidry, and Alexia Melling wholeheartedly agree elections are essential to the successful operation of the AARC.  

“Elected officials help shape the profession by creating a vision for our future and then working with our members through the House of Delegates to achieve that vision,” said Melling. “It is important that every AARC member vote in these elections because their voice matters. Who they choose to represent them is the direction they want the AARC to go in the future, and therefore the future of our profession.” 

Guidry wants AARC members to realize that the members of the BOD voted upon during the fall election are their representatives in the Association and as such should be carefully selected by all active members. “This gives the member a voice in the decisions made by the BOD in the management of the Association,” she said. 

Barrett puts it in a nutshell. “Like all elections, your voice is your vote,” she said. “You can only impact change by using your voice.” 

The AARC 2024 Elections are happening now! The 2025 elections will happen the same time next year, so watch for the announcement in AARC News or on the AARC website and take some time out of your day to read up on the candidates. Then cast your ballot for those who most closely match your own vision for the future of your profession. 

Email newsroom@aarc.org with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Debbie Bunch

Debbie Bunch is an AARC contributor who writes feature articles, news stories, and other content for Newsroom, the AARC website, and associated emailed newsletters. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, photography, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Connect with Debbie by email or on AARConnect or LinkedIn.

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