Our View: More candidates bring our community more choices | TheUnion.com

Our View: More candidates bring our community more choices

The Union Editorial Board

It’s no easy task running for office.

There’s the endless series of gatherings that involve glad-handing potential voters. Add to that the need for contributions to fuel the engine of the campaign. And, of course, the specter — or reality — of mud-slinging that’s become a staple of far too many political runs.

Nevada County now is in the midst of campaign season. Many candidates have announced their intention to run. They’re collecting money, holding campaign events and racing toward the June 5 election with eyes on the prize.

The big races — sheriff, district attorney and the District 3 Board of Supervisors spots — will grab headlines, but these aren’t the only elected offices up for grabs. There’s the county’s tax assessor, auditor-controller and treasurer-tax collector, for example — jobs some folks might not realize are elected positions.

Then, of course, there’s the Nevada City Council. They get no pay for all the phone calls, emails and, dare we say, laborious meetings they must endure.

Of course, Nevada City hasn’t needed an election for 10 years because the town hasn’t mustered enough candidates to warrant one.

This is indicative of a larger problem, if we don’t do something to stop it. Every community deserves a wide selection when they approach the marketplace of ideas. The more candidates we have, the better.

This year it appears we’re heading toward a healthy slate of races. The sheriff’s race already has three candidates who have announced their intention to run. The District 3 supervisor spot has two. Both have female candidates, as does the District 4 supervisor and clerk-recorder/registrar of voters races.

And there’s still plenty of time for would-be candidates to get involved. The deadline to declare is March 9.

These women, and men, have raised serious cash for their campaigns. Candidates for the sheriff’s office alone have raised over $75,000 between them, and that’s not counting the value of in-kind contributions.

That’s a significant amount of money and it shows people both in and outside our community have a keen interest in who serves in local elected office.

The thing is — you don’t have to give money to a candidate to care about our government and who serves in it. There’s plenty we can do to get involved other than voting, the first of which is to educate yourself.

It’s the responsibility of each of us to know about the candidates, what they stand for and what they’ll do if elected.

We congratulate everyone who’s running for office. It takes a strength of character to offer yourself for public service and everything that comes with it.

But we, as individual voters, need to step up as well.

Public forums will occur throughout this election cycle. Stories about the candidates themselves will appear in the pages of The Union.

We need to stay informed, and involved, not just when a local board falls into catastrophe and we collectively wring our hands, wondering how things could ever have come to this. We can’t wait for troubling times to rediscover democracy, but instead must be involved right now.

Everyone can’t dedicate themselves to the same level of involvement. To use a metaphor, some of us will crawl in our quest to educate ourselves. Others will walk in their desire to learn about the local political process and what role they should play in it.

And a few others, maybe some who don’t even know it yet, will opt to run.

The weekly Our View column represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.

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