Future of Summit County rests on caliber of candidates in coming election
February 19, 2016
With apologies to former president John F. Kennedy, who coined a similar sentiment, we urge Summit County residents: ask not what your county can do for you, ask what you can do for your county.
In less than a month, the filing window will open for a host of elected positions — including four seats on the five-member Summit County Council. Candidates must file with the clerk’s office between March 11 and March 17.
Given that the job requires a significant amount of time and effort, and a commitment of up to four years, it is not a decision to be made lightly. But while some prospective candidates may have already begun planning their campaign strategies, there is still time for other civic-minded citizens to consider whether they may have a fresh perspective or skill set to offer the community through elected public service.
Three of the four incumbents who are up for election have announced their intentions to run. Democrats Kim Carson, Roger Armstrong and Republican Tal Adair will be seeking to hold their positions. And, after two full terms, Democrat Claudia McMullin, says she is ready to retire.
The at-large, partisan positions come with a salary of around $30,000 per year plus a generous benefits package including health, dental and life insurance, and an optional retirement program. They earn that pay, too, by wrestling with complex and difficult decisions, often in the harsh glare of public criticism.
The process for getting hired can be grueling. Potential candidates are encouraged to contact their local party chairmen to learn more about the issues and about the electoral process, which will begin with neighborhood caucuses on March 22. After the caucuses, the candidates will battle their own party challengers to win the county-level nomination if the party nominee isn’t settled at the convention they will face off in a primary. Then it’s on to the general election, which will require some financial investment and a fair amount of stumping from door to door.
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While county campaigns aren’t as costly as they are on the state or national level, knocking on a neighbor’s door to ask for their vote is no less intense. And in today’s super-heated political climate, anyone who has the courage to run for public office deserves respect.
Summit County will benefit the most if a diverse slate of candidates steps forward from both sides of the political aisle and from both sides of Summit County. County history shows there is even plenty of room for a third party (one of the county’s most popular former commissioners was an Independent). A vigorous political season and a big turnout on Election Day will help to ensure a brighter future for today’s citizens and generations to come.
For more information go to: http://www.summitcounty.org/290/Candidates
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