PUBLISHER’S COLUMN | Consider public office in Island County for Filing Week

I had a good conversation with a local political figure the other day. We touched on a lot of topics, but didn’t venture much into politics. Politics have never been my favorite subject.

Though I’ve voted since turning 18, I rarely enter into political discussions with anyone outside my immediate family.

During the course of our conversation, the topic of Filing Week came up. As important as I believe Filing Week is, it had slipped my mind until that moment.

Starting Monday, May 16 and continuing through Friday, May 20, Filing Week is when surprises, if there are to be any in an election year, often occur.

Serving an elected office on Whidbey Island often requires fortitude, but I believe there’s a place in our system for those who aren’t “seasoned politicians” — people who just love their community and want to give back.

The greatest elected officials are those who understand their role is to serve, not be served. Whether or not a politician’s agenda fits my personal belief system, I respect those who hold to their personal convictions whether or not they’re the most popular or politically expedient. Disingenuous political speak — giving an answer that’s a non-answer to avoid accountability — is insulting. Nonetheless, even the greatest elected representatives should face a challenger at election time. I’ve seen too many unchallenged races where the incumbent sits out public forums and dodges questions simply because they can.

This year, the following positions are up for election:

• The Island County Superior Court seats currently held by judges Alan Hancock and Vickie Churchill.

• The Island County commissioner seats held by Helen Price Johnson and Jill Johnson.

• The state Senate seat held by Barbara Bailey.

• The seat held by state representatives Norma Smith and Dave Hayes.

• Rick Larsen’s congressional seat.

Whether or not you’ve held public office before, consider throwing your hat in the ring. Be engaged with the voters, and force the incumbent and any other challengers to be engaged as well. Raise questions, discuss the issues and be prepared to talk about what you can bring to the position that your opponent or opponents cannot.

To file by mail, use the Declaration of Candidacy Form, found at Declarations may be received by mail in the Auditor’s Office no later than Friday, May 20. Send to: Island County Auditor – Elections, P.O. Box 1410, Coupeville, WA. 98239-1410, or deliver to the office at 400 N. Main St., Coupeville, WA between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Filing Week is an opportunity to put democracy to work and ensure the voters have a choice come Election Day.