If you want to make a difference in this place you call home, the doors are open for you now.
The filing period for local elected office ends Wednesday. There are three seats open on the assembly -- District 3 (Nikiski), District 4 (Soldotna) and District 7 (Tustumena); three seats on the school board; three seats on the Soldotna City Council; and, in Kenai, the mayor's seat, plus three council seats. In addition, there are ample opportunities to get involved through election to one of the borough's many service area boards.
If you've been an armchair critic of politics, here's a chance to move from the sidelines to a seat where you can help call the shots and run the plays. If you've ever wanted to be a voice of "the people," now's the time to sign up and speak out. If you're busting with good ideas to make this a better place to live, you have a forum to share them.
The work of elected community leaders isn't easy and it's far from glamorous. In fact, every year at this time we wonder why people do it. For all their hard work and long meetings, it seems like all they ever get is abuse -- often (but not always) undeserved.
It may not come with the prestige of higher elected office, but serving on a city council, the assembly or school board has the potential to change the community for the better and touch the lives of your neighbors as no congressional decision ever can.
The time before an election is the time for community members to ask: Is the status quo good enough? What direction do I want my community to take? Do my priorities match those of my elected leaders? Do I know the priorities of my elected leaders? Is there something I want accomplished; if so, who is the best person to make that project happen?
After reflecting on those kinds of questions, it may be apparent that you are the best candidate for a particular office. If so, get your application in -- now.
There's been a lot of discussion about why more people don't run for office and why they don't vote. Is it apathy or an endorsement of how things are going? Do people not care or do they like the status quo? Would they rather criticize than get involved?
We don't have the answer to those questions, but we do know the importance of local elected office. It's a chance to make a world of difference in your community.
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