EDITORIAL: Election season needs candidates

Tired of complaining about local government? Then this is the time to start thinking about how to help improve the situation.

The 2003 political campaign season has started, kicked off unofficially last week when Oak Harbor City Councilman Eric Gerber announced he will run against Mayor Patty Cohen.

Gerber is likely the first of several candidates to announce for mayor. And that’s good. Incumbents, regardless of whether they have performed well or poorly, need political opponents to keep their thinking sharp and bring important issues before the public.

Oak Harbor will also have several city council positions on the November ballot, while in Coupeville every council seat is up for election as is the mayor’s position. Both cities should have a number of lively campaigns to keep voters interested up to election day.

Oak Harbor and Coupeville school districts will also have board positions on the ballot. With education the number one issue in each community, these races should attract a number of qualified candidates.

Public service in a small community comes complete with many challenges and little if any monetary compensation. It takes a lot of time and puts one at risk of public criticism. But the rewards of a job well done can be tremendous: providing lower taxes or improved facilities for residents of a city, and better educational opportunities for children, for example.

To accomplish anything takes good ideas, hard work, the ability to work with others, and patience to see things through to the end.

Whidbey Island needs good people to run for office. The official filing period isn’t until the last week of July, so there’s time to think about it. Win or lose, the simple act of participating in the political process is a benefit to the community.

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