Filing time: Public office: the bread and buttonhole of local life

Sequestration and gridlock are terms that, so far locally, create none of the burdensome political baggage we are seeing in Washington, D.C.

Perhaps not all politics are local, but certainly the most effective ones are.

In Hood River County the individual can have an impact on local political matters, and the May 21 Special Districts ballot displays the potential for local residents stepping up and making a significant difference.

Turn to page A1 for details on filing for local offices.

This spring, every Special District in the county will have one or more positions up for vote, giving the average citizen a great opportunity to get involved, and know that their efforts will carry weight.

Special districts are taxing districts serving localized needs or specific services. In most cases the jurisdictions include just a portion of the county, and can even be a neighborhood governing group, in the case of sanitation and fire districts, for example.

Others, such as school, transportation and parks boards, cover the entire county.

In every case, the individual can have their say on policy and budget decisions, and help determine the future course of how important services are provided in local communities.

In some cases, a new majority could be voted into office. Case in point is the Hood River County School Board, where four of seven seats are up for grabs.

The Port of Hood River has three of five positions open, as does the Hood River Library District.

Moreover, many of these taxing bodies are facing major decisions on budgeting services, changes in zoning or use of land, projects to spur development, future bonding and taxing measures, new avenues of governmental cooperation, and other vital decisions.

It’s rarely easy, and sometimes difficult and contentious work, but holding local public office is one of the best ways one can serve the community. With special districts the elected are never more than a few miles and a local phone call away from their constituents.

Meetings are held in schools, fire halls, community rooms, and, while impromptu, in the grocery aisles.

In local politics, you’ve got to be prepared to be buttonholed in the bread aisle, but that is the beauty of it.

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