Opinion

Incumbents: Speak up now | Editorial

Jim Palmer, an Oak Harbor city councilman, set a good example last week by announcing he is not running for a second term. He handled the situation the way he has handled his elected job: thoughtfully, seriously and with the best interests of the people in mind.

He could have simply waited for the filing period and not filed for another term. In another scenario, an insider could have been tipped off that Palmer was not running and quietly filed for the position. The vacancy would have caught others by surprise, and the insider would be a shoo-in for election in November. Fortunately, this will not happen because Jim Palmer did the right thing and gave everyone interested in city politics time to consider running for office.

Other candidates on this fall’s ballot should follow Palmer’s example, and do it soon. For example, voters are still wondering if Oak Harbor Mayor Jim Slowik is running for a second term. They should know that by now.

The filing period at the Island County Courthouse runs from June 6 through June 10, so the public needs to know your intentions now.

Off-year elections are crucial to small communities because that is when all the nonpartisan elected positions are on the ballot. They don’t run as Democrats or Republicans, but they do run our cities, school districts, fire districts, parks districts, port districts and hospital district. In all the cities and districts combined, there will be more than 50 Whidbey Island positions on the ballot this year. It’s vital to have good people in office, and for that to happen we need good people to run in the election. The sooner they know of vacancies the better.

It’s easy to announce your intentions before the official filing period. Just call or email the editor of this newspaper, 675-6611 or jlarsen@whidbeynewsgroup.com. This will help more people get involved in government, and that can only mean one thing: better government.

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