Editorial:

Don’t forget about the ‘other’ races

Posted

Starting as early as last year, candidates began lining up for Wyoming’s most prestigious political offices, like governor and Congress. Many of them are gearing up for a high-profile primary election later this month.

But starting yesterday (Wednesday), a different set of candidates began declaring their interest in a set of much lower-profile posts: seats on the local boards that oversee our college, schools, hospitals, fire departments, cemeteries and conservation districts.

Interested folks have through Aug. 27 to file for the open positions on those boards; applications for election can be submitted to the Park County Clerk’s Office.

If you’re looking to make a real difference in your community, we’d encourage you to consider running for some of these lesser-known positions.

You don’t need a campaign platform to effectively serve your community as a member of one of these boards. The job usually entails helping to keep a district running smoothly — working through the occasional tough decision and just generally doing your best to use taxpayers’ money wisely.

You likely won’t become a household name by joining one of these boards; in fact, most people probably will have no clue that you’re one of their elected representatives.

You certainly won’t get rich, either: All of the positions now up for filing are unpaid.

The people who fill these boards are true public servants.

In their stump speeches, the bigger-name politicians often wax poetic about the greatness of our democratic, constitutional republic. They’re right: We are privileged to live in a country where we get to choose our leaders and have people willing to step up and serve.

But what’s truly remarkable is not that we have fellow Americans willing to run for higher-profile, fairly well-paying jobs in government, but that we have people faithfully serving as, say, a cemetery or hospital district trustee. These are people volunteering to give up their free time and offering their talents in exchange for not much more than the satisfaction of helping their community.

We appreciate the many people serving this community on our district boards and we hope many of them decide they want to continue serving. But, without fail, each election cycle brings a need for new recruits and fresh faces.

While much of voters’ attention is rightly focused on the Aug. 21 primary election, we hope you’ll take some time to consider the round of lower-profile board races that are just starting up. You may decide that you should step up and offer yourself for one of the open positions. Or you may just want to take the time to look up your local board members and thank them for their service.

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