Local candidates step forward

Most people are still recovering from an overabundance in midterm campaign advertising, hit piece fliers and either the joy or grief of their favorite candidates’ fortunes at the ballot box. As a nation, we are collectively suffering a lingering post-election hangover.

And yet, there are people right here in the South Sound who are already soberly planning for the 2015 general election. Or, at least we hope they are.

Voters will go to the polls next Nov. 3 for what is considered an “off-year election,” meaning no federal or state offices are on the ballot. Instead, approximately 70 people in Thurston County will be elected to city councils, school boards and commissions for fire, parks and cemetery districts.

In many ways, the 2015 elections will have a more direct and immediate impact on our lives. These are the positions that make planning and zoning regulations, decide bus routes, build roundabouts, and put bonds and levies before the voters.

We encourage anyone interested in public service to start planning now. The filing deadline for these offices may be nearly eight months away, but candidates should have recruited and organized their supporters well before the start of next year’s campaign season.

When no challenger contests an incumbent, we are denied a democratic debate about local issues. But no one should run for an elected office without thoroughly considering its responsibilities. These are hard, often thankless jobs, usually underpaid and brutally open to public scrutiny.

Still, as former Olympia Mayor Mark Foutch has said, “There is nothing so rewarding professionally and personally as public service.” And there’s no better way to make a difference in your community.

The City of Tumwater has five council positions up for election next year. Lacey has three. Olympia has two, plus a mayoral election. There will be one opening for the Port Of Olympia Commission, and a host of positions on school boards and special purpose districts.

Communities get the governments we deserve – or elect. The process starts when good, well-intended, well-qualified candidates come forward. Now’s the time to take that first step.