February 26, 2014

Qualifying is the first step to serving others

The Daily Citizen

— Former U.S. House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill once said “All politics is local.”

We aren’t sure that is true. But we are certain that local politics is the place where the average citizen can make the greatest difference.

Races are decided by thousands, not hundreds of thousands or even millions, of votes. That makes it possible for candidates to actually get out and meet and talk with a substantial share of the people who’ll be voting. It also means they don’t have to raise and spend vast sums of money to run a campaign.

And if the issues county commissioners and school board members deal with don’t seem as weighty as the issues members of Congress deal with, they may have a greater impact on citizens. Are our roads maintained? Do our children acquire an education that prepares them to be good citizens and productive members of society? Are zoning laws too tight or too lenient? All of those questions are answered primarily or exclusively at the local level.

On May 20, voters will go to the polls in the state’s general primaries, and several local races in both Whitfield and Murray counties will be contested.

In Whitfield County, Board of Commissioners Districts 1 and 3 will be contested this year. Gordon Morehouse, who currently holds the District 1 seat, and Robby Staten, who currently holds the District 3 seat, have both said they will not seek re-election this year.

On the Whitfield County Board of Education, the District 2 seat, the District 4 seat and the at-large seat are up for election.

In Murray County, Board of Education seats for Districts 5, 6 and 7 will be contested. The nonpartisan post of chief magistrate judge will also be contested.

Qualifying for those races takes place next week. If you have an interest in local government, if you think you could make a difference in one of those posts, this is your chance to convince voters you could serve them well.