Editorial: If you’ve considered running for office, next week is time to act

Quite a few people have already announced their intentions to run this year for state and local offices. But next week is when they will make it official by filing forms and paying filing fees.

Those who have ever thought about elected office should seriously consider throwing their hats in the political ring. More than ever — in what will hopefully be a post-pandemic world — it’s important that we have leaders with integrity, intelligence and flexibility.

Open positions include two seats on the Island County Board of Commissioners; both Island County Superior Court judges; a state senator in District 10; two state representatives in District 10; and U.S. representative for Congressional District 2.

Among elected officials, county commissioners arguably have the most impact on the average citizen. They set the budget for the departments they oversee — including public health, planning and public works — and also for other county elected officials. They oversee vital grant programs.

Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, a Democrat in Position 1, announced she is running for state Senate this year. Five people have already announced plans to run for the seat. Commissioner Jill Johnson, a Position 2 Republican, is seeking reelection and has three potential challengers.

Island County Superior Court is facing unprecedented change. Both judges, Vickie Churchill and Alan Hancock, are retiring.

Trial court judges have vital roles in the local justice system. They are called on to understand and make decisions in a complex array of legal questions. Their decisions impact the fate of murderers, the shape of families and accountability of fraudsters.

Oak Harbor attorney Christon Skinner and Langley attorneys Caroline Cliff and Kathleen Petrich announced their plans to run for judgeships.

With Price Johnson in the race, the contest for the District 10 state senator position is likely to be competitive. Oak Harbor resident Ron Muzzall, a Republican, was appointed to the position after Barbara Bailey retired and is running in November.

State Rep. Norma Smith said she is retiring and four candidates announced their intentions to run for the seat. State Rep. Dave Paul, a Democrat from Oak Harbor, is also running for reelection.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Arlington, will seek another term in office.