Looked upon as an umbrella, the next local election covers us all.
Every community in Hood River County, from Crystal Springs Water District to the Port of Cascade Locks, has a stake in the May 17 Special Districts Election.
Positions are open on the Hood River County School Board, Port of Hood River, Hood River County Parks and Recreation District, the county Transportation District, and two other entities serving all or most of Hood River County: Columbia Gorge Community College and Region 9 Education Service District.
Port of Cascade Locks commission will also be on the ballot, as will Mt. Hood Community College district board, which includes Cascade Locks.
Every water, fire, and sanitation district as well as the school Local Committees will be on the ballot.
The key date is March 17 at 5 p.m.
Space will permit in the Feb. 2 edition to publish a full list of all the positions. We'll also post it on our website, hoodrivernews.com
It feels like we just got done with the November balloting. Why is it important to get the word out now about an election that happens in May?
First, because there are so many positions, which equates to so many opportunities to get involved. If you've ever thought of getting involved in local politics, this may be one of your best opportunities ever, given the sheer number of positions on boards and commissions that have a direct impact on quality of life in the Gorge.
Second, the earlier people file for office the better. It saves the county Elections staff time and money to have an early list of the names to go on the ballot.
Often, people will wait until the last minute - literally - to show up at the Elections office and file the necessary paperwork. There have been cases, albeit rare, of people trying to file at a few minutes before 5 p.m. on the last filing day and not getting to the desk on time.
Further, early filing keeps district representatives informed of the number of positions that have candidates, in case they need to "beat the bushes" in the last two weeks to ensure at least one name is up for each opening.
And, finally, there is the write-in factor. Write-ins are an important part of the democratic process, but if they can be avoided it saves taxpayer money. It costs the county extra staff time to count write-in names.
It is far better that the ballot be filled, in a timely manner, with the names of motivated people who are ready to go, ready to serve if elected. Ballots will go out on April 30. It seems like a long way off, but it will be here before we know it. It takes plenty of people to hold this umbrella.