We won’t fix health care or immigration law with the choices we make this November, but May offers a special opportunity to commit to impactful community service.
Filing week is May 13-17, a chance to offer yourself up as a public servant.
On the ballot in Anacortes are four of seven City Council seats, three of five School Board seats and three of five Fidalgo Pool Commission seats. For each of those bodies, that’s a voting majority. Some have incumbents who intend to run again, and others are simply open.
Other offices up for contention include the Port Commission, the Hospital Board, two fire districts and two cemetery districts.
These people will have a direct impact on our lives and our wallets — how much we are taxed, how our money is spent, how our roads are paved, how our water is cleaned, how our children are educated, how our hospital is run, how our homes are protected from fire, where we swim and, for some, even how our final resting place is maintained.
Every elected seat, filled or not, should have more than one person running to occupy it. An unchallenged office is like stagnant water at risk of contamination. A challenge raises the bar, brings issues into focus and draws attention to the importance of each office.
It takes a special kind of selfless servant to be a good fit for elected office.
Whether it’s City Council or the cemetery district, public service can be a largely thankless job. For those who win, the prize includes being subject to the bright light of public scrutiny and criticism.
Fame, glory and significant pay are rare, but it isn’t about personal benefit. Those without a thick skin will likely find it toughened over time. The responsibility is not only the job at hand, such as running a city, a school or a pool. It’s also a duty to understand the rules that come with that office and the commitment to do the public’s business in full sunlight. Those rules apply no matter the size of the town or whether an audience is watching.
The real reward from this public service is one we all share. All of these jobs need to be done. Their work, no matter the position, serves the outcome of keeping our community strong. These are servants with great power who help shape our community’s present and future. It’s possibly the most important act of community service anyone can offer at the local level.
Therefore, all who run — win or lose — deserve our praise.
Let’s thank them in advance for being willing to give of their time, intellect and energy to make Anacortes a better place. Their participation makes the process stronger.
And if you have not done so, please consider filing for office. Your community needs your service.