Well, now is the time to do something besides just complain about how things are done.
Get involved, run for office. Citizen participation in local government is something that strengthens the fabric of our local communities.
There’s one week left do so. Petitions are due for open positions for Town Meeting voting on Tuesday, March 6. The deadline is Monday, January 29, at 5 pm.
Why get involved?
There are a number of reasons. Some may have to do with not liking what’s happening in your town. Maybe you don’t like the way it’s being managed. Or maybe you’re curious about what’s happening with your local school, especially with all the changes coming because of Act 46.
Other reasons could be more of the positive variety. Maybe you do like what’s going on, and want to be a part of it and contribute.
Whatever one’s feelings are about local government, town or school, the bottom line is people willing to dedicate their time and knowledge will always be welcome.
Once someone decides to run for election, it’s not that hard to do. No one should be intimidated by the idea of running for a local office. There is no doubt local elections are somewhat of a popularity contest. But, that comes with the territory, and in truth is one of the great things about politics in Vermont at just about any level. Most people know whom they’re voting for or against, because they are people who are generally known in the community.
It’s also not that to hard go the through the petition process. Your local town clerk can explain exactly what it takes to get a name on a ballot, but it basically requires getting signatures of registered voters in your town on a petition and making sure that petition is turned in by the deadline. In this year that would be January 29, as we said above.
Don’t think there’s a place for you? Nothing could be further from the truth. Local towns are always looking for people to serve on boards and committees. Take Wilmington and Whitingham, for example. A number of school board members have chosen not to run for reelection. At last count, we saw a potential for five vacant seats between the Wilmington, Whitingham, and Twin Valley school boards. In those towns alone there are ample opportunities for someone to run and win a board seat.
We understand that finding the time to commit to serving on a town or school board is difficult. Life often gets in the way of even the best intentions. And, they are essentially volunteer positions, even though some towns offer small stipends for their board members.
It’s easy to say “I don’t do politics” or “I don’t want to get involved,” but it takes involvement in our local communities to keep things running.
Serving in public office, even in the smallest of capacities, can be very rewarding to the individual who does so and certainly can be of great benefit to a town or school district. Serving on a local government board is one way to give back to your community.
But time is running out, there are only a few days left to take out a petition, get it signed, and return it.
Go ahead, your town needs you.