’Tis the season.
No, despite the displays already out at Costco, I’m not talking Christmas yet.
The season I’m referring to is election season. That time again when voters will elect their municipal representatives for city, regional district and the school board.
The election is set for Saturday, Nov. 15, and that has a number of people pondering their options.
As it stands so far, three candidates have announced their intentions to run for mayor: Nancy Cooper, Debbie Cannon and Marty Bootsma. All three have considerable council experience under their belts, with both Cooper and Bootsma having occupied the mayor’s office, while Cannon has served three terms on council.
But there’s still plenty of time for more to join, as the deadline for filing nominations isn’t until Oct. 10.
The race to fill the six spaces on council will certainly bring some new faces to the table, as Couns. Marg Kentel and Denise Reimer have both opted out of another run.
This time too, the voters’ decisions will carry even more weight as the terms of office for municipal politicians has been increased from three to four years.
New to this election, too, is the opportunity for voters to mail in their ballots if they have an illness or other condition that might limit their ability to vote, or for those, particularly the snowbirds, who might be away from the city during the advance vote or on general voting day.
An application must be made to the city to partake in this program before Oct. 15, and documents are available at city hall or on the city’s website.
One thing I noticed, and appreciated, was how the school district is holding a meeting for prospective trustees to provide them with some of the basic information about their role and what the job actually entails. I think this would be a wise thing for both the city and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District to offer as well.
While some people see politics as a cushy job, the reality is far from it. Entering municipal politics at whatever level is not for the faint of heart. Because you are much more accessible than politicians at higher levels of government, you become, in a way, public property.
The people are paying your salary and that gives them a real sense of ownership over your decisions.
Candidates need to understand the scope and the limitations of their job before they put their names on the ballot. Many a person has decided to run for office envisioning the sweeping changes they would make and the harmony they could create. They tend to forget that they are just one vote among seven, and that many projects are in progress and difficult to crank back.
It is important for potential candidates to go in with their eyes wide open and armed with information.