Elections need diversity

By Observer editorial January 17, 2014 08:36 am

Community service takes many forms. It can be leading fund drives, running food banks and taking care of the elderly.

One important form is for interested citizens to run for council and mayor races. La Grande Mayor Dan Pokorney, who is not running for re-election, is encouraging interested citizens to run for three city council positions and the office of mayor that will be on the ballot this year. The mayor says it would be nice to see three or four people running for each position.

The best part of a citizen-centered democracy is citizens stepping up to play a part in political theater. And any registered voter who has lived in the city of La Grande for a minimum of six months prior to the date of election is eligible to run. The filing deadline is March 4.

It costs nothing to file. People have to gather only 30 signatures to get their name on the ballot.

As Pokorney recognizes, strength is gained by having a diversity of candidates throw their hats onto the stage.

Face it. Being a city councilor or mayor is not easy. Tough decisions have to be made. Long hours have to be spent attending meetings, studying issues and talking with constituents and helping solve their issues.

Public service in the public interest, however, is what makes cities thrive.

Those elected will need to dig beneath the surface and sort out the truth, and that takes time and commitment.

Good citizenship entails not just voting and caring about the city but also, for certain citizens, running for council and mayor seats.

We need people who are civic minded to step up at this time. We need people who will build on the community’s strengths: low crime, trees, educational hub, natural beauty and so on.

Those who want to run should contact City Recorder Sandy Lund at 541-962-1309 or pay a visit to her office at City Hall.

People who do get involved can wear their contributions to the community as their badge of courage.