Record editorial: Can you do a better job than your elected officials? Now’s the time to prove it.
As the saying goes, decisions are made by those who show up.
A variation of the adage could be this: Decisions are made by those who put themselves in the position to make them. That point is pertinent this week as the filing window opens Friday for residents to declare themselves candidates for public office in this fall’s election, which will include seats in the state Legislature, on the Summit County Council and on local school boards, as well as a handful of department head positions at the County Courthouse.
That means the time is now for people to step up and participate in a way that goes beyond contacting their elected officials or, as too many of us do, simply venting frustrations on Facebook.
Fed up with what’s happening at the State Capitol? Run for office.
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Think you can do a better job than those serving on the Summit County Council or filling the other elected county positions? Run for office.
Question the decisions being made in your child’s school district? Run for office.
Even if you’re relatively pleased with your elected officials, the course of action is the same if you believe you have something valuable to offer as a public servant.
Run for office.
A misconception that many have is that being an expert politician is the only way to get elected. Particularly at the state and local levels, though, that’s simply not true. Running for public office doesn’t take any special attributes other than passion and a desire to serve one’s community (and competence, of course, though measuring that is up to voters).
The vast majority of local elected officials are regular folks who simply saw an opportunity to roll up their sleeves and took it. And doing that is especially important because there’s no guarantee anyone else will.
Two years ago, for instance, there were six county positions on the ballot but nary a Republican challenging for any of them. The Democratic candidates breezed to victories, and residents were robbed of the opportunity to discuss and consider competing visions for the future of the county.
By stepping up and running for office, residents have the power to make this election season different. Several enthusiastic and qualified candidates entering the fray for each seat would allow for the kind of debate befitting the offices they seek to hold.
And most importantly, it would give voters a chance to pick the best person for the job. If that’s you, show up to the Summit County Clerk’s Office, declare your candidacy and prove it.
For information about how to become a candidate for office, visit summitcounty.org/270/Clerk.The filing window closes at 5 p.m. on March 19.
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Our view: Against a once-unimaginable backdrop, and with little margin for error, county officials have made painful but prudent decisions in an attempt to spare us from the worst of the pandemic.