Counties all across Kansas will hold elections for local offices on November 5th, 2019. The filing deadline to be on the ballot in this November's election for local school board and city commission seats is June 3rd (at noon). By that date, potential candidates will have had to make a decision. And, because this will be only the second time we have voted for local elections in the fall of odd-numbered years, I suspect that deadline approaching in six weeks is not getting the attention it deserves.
Who local communities elect makes a huge difference for their future. Because of this importance, I urge civic-minded citizens to be looking for, encouraging, and ultimately finding quality candidates to run. This includes considering running for office themselves. In many ways, the future all starts locally and is dependent on quality candidates who are creative, can make good decisions, and have the skills to manage resources efficiently and serve not just the short-run but the future as well.
Why, more specifically, does who we elect locally mean so much? One important example would be the dollars from the state and federal government that flow to local communities, which are implemented at the local level and certainly impacted by locally elected officials. For instance, state school financial support is invested locally, but turning that investment into positive results is almost exclusively tied to local leadership. That leadership starts with the publicly-elected school board.
The future of Kansas will depend heavily on what we do to grow our population, build our businesses, and attract folks to work and invest here, raise a family, and be a part of a growing prospering state. For that to happen, we need to elect city commissioners and school board members that understand the importance of their role. I know the state will be doing their part to help grow, but they are going to need communities that have their act together and leaders who can carry that vision forward. And do not forget, quality schools are a huge factor in keeping what you have and growing and prospering.
That is why I am calling on those of you who read this blog to do your part in recruiting candidates and raising awareness for the fall local elections. And a great way to help a potential candidate who may be “on the fence” about running would be to offer them your help and support right out of the gate. Each candidate will need a team of committed folks doing what they can to help get their name and message out around the community. The larger the network around the candidate, the wider the reach, and the higher the chances of success in November.
But, obviously, success starts with quality candidates having filed. It is certainly in your selfish as well as community interests to make sure this happens, and you only have six weeks to work.