We need more candidates on our ballots, in both primary and general elections. There are too many local races each year with only one or two candidates for a given seat. More choices for voters will lead to more competitive races, resulting in more responsive candidates and elected officials. A primary challenger should not be a rarity or be viewed as a threat to be avoided or snubbed.
Seeking and serving in elected capacities should be more commonplace than it is today. We need more citizens among our community who can claim the title of “former candidate." A regular rotation in officials can be a healthy thing. Much like a jury gives ordinary citizens a chance to participate in our civic institutions -- if even for a moment -- putting one’s name on the ballot gives one an opportunity to engage in public discourse in a unique and meaningful way.
There should not be an elite class of professional politicians that circulates through the doors of our public offices. We need everyday lay citizens to be involved in policy-making and administration. We need people who will stand up not for personal advancement or aggrandizement, but out of the desire to serve and contribute to our communities.
If you're reading this and are considering a run (or simply have a desire to run) either under a major party’s banner, a third party or even as an unaffiliated candidate, now is the time to start preparing. We need more voices and ideas than the ones currently being raised in our two parties. Don’t be afraid of losing a race. The only thing we should be afraid of losing is a healthy democracy.