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Posted 1/31/18 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

While the June election seems like a long way off, in reality it isn’t as the deadline for candidates to file their petitions to appear on the ballot for a variety of open seats is April 9.
It can be easy to sit back and criticize those who serve us in elected offices, whether they be those who serve on our local park districts, city councils, school boards or even in county offices. But in reality, those people who decide to throw their hats in the ring to serve do so with the desire to help their communities, schools and county.
With the exception of elected county officials, those who do serve are truly doing a very thankless job that earns them very little, if any, compensation. They don’t do it for the recognition because there is very little of that either. Instead they devote countless hours attending meetings, listening to constituents, wrestling with budgets and planning for the future, whether that be in a city council or park board meeting room, at a school board meeting, or serving all of McKenzie County as an elected official, because they want to make a difference.
And we need more people who want to make a difference in our cities, our parks, our schools and our county. We need people who are willing to bring new ideas and programs to these boards. We need people who are willing to listen to their constituents.
That is not to say that the people who currently serve and are considering running again for an elected position are not these type of people. It’s just that as our cities and county over the past several years have welcomed thousands of new residents to our area, many of these people have brought with them a wealth of ideas that have worked before and may be of benefit in our schools, parks, and local government.
In this week’s McKenzie County Farmer, we carried a front page story that outlined all of the local offices that will be voted on in the June election, as well as the District 39 and county offices that will be voted on in the primary and general elections. As can be seen, while there is a fair amount of early interest in some of the offices, especially at the county level, the bulk of the other offices at the city and school levels seem to be lacking candidates.
Which means that if a person has ever thought of running for a public office, between now and the filing deadline, they have time to sit in on meetings and see what the board members do. They also have time to ask questions of board members that are currently serving. And they have time to seriously give consideration on what strengths they can bring to one of the boards.
All of our boards, be they school, city, park or county, need to have people with a vision and a passion to build upon the accomplishments of the past and help guide us to an even brighter future.
Are you such a person? Do you know of such a person? If so, give serious consideration about becoming a candidate for one of the many positions that will be on the ballot in this year’s election.