Elections for local offices shape future of community

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What happens in the White House or Congress or the state Legislature is important.

But few decisions made by the president, members of Congress or legislators are as readily apparent on your day-to-day life as those made locally by city councils or school boards. The policies these locally elected officials establish determine how much you pay in taxes, the conditions of roads and the type of education the community’s children (including your children) receive.

Local elections are incredibly important.

Monday is the first day of the weeklong filing period for the November election. This year a lot of school board and city council positions throughout the county are on the ballot.

Running for these offices is not easy, and serving can be even tougher. Yet, it can also be very rewarding. No, local officials don’t earn a salary. These are essentially volunteer positions outside of a small stipend to cover expenses. Those elected can have an impact in making their community better.

Having at least two strong candidates running for every position makes for strong government. And that in no way should be taken as a slight to any incumbent seeking re-election.

Contested races are best because candidates, whether incumbents, challengers or those seeking an open seat, are forced to articulate their views to the voters. And, perhaps more importantly, those on the ballot get an unfiltered opportunity to find out exactly what the voters are thinking.

Walla Walla School Board member Dan Hess announced early he would not seek re-election to give possible candidates enough time to decid if they want to run. Hess should be commended for having the best interests of the public in mind.

Aside from the Walla Walla School Board position now held by Hess, two other positions on the ballot are Director 2 and Director 3 — those held by Cindy Meyer and Ruth Ladderrud respectively.

Three seats on the Walla Walla City Council will also be on the ballot, those now held by Jim Barrow, Shane Laib and Conrado Cavazos Jr.

School board and city council seats outside of the city of Walla Walla, as well as a number of fire commission positions, are also on the ballot.

Voters will also cast a ballot for the Port of Walla Walla Commissioner District 1 slot, which is now held by Paul H. Schneidmiller.

Filing starts at 9 a.m. Monday at the County Elections Office, 301 W. Poplar St., and ends Friday at 4 p.m.

Now is the time to step forward if you have a desire to serve your community.

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