Kristine Lytton, our legislative district representative, will be on Orcas on Sunday to speak to the Orcas Women’s Coalition 4–6 pm at the School Cafeteria). Part of the focus for the conversation is to encourage more women to run for elected positions.
I applaud that effort and only wish to extend the effort to men as well as women.
In the upcoming election in November, Orcas will elect three people to the School Board, three to the Fire Commission, three to the Parks and Recreation District, one to Eastsound Water, and four to the Port Commission. Out of the 14 open seats, all but one is unopposed. It is not an ideal situation.
The commissioners are the closest thing we have to local governance. Ideally, we would be attracting multiple skilled candidates for each open position. Why isn’t that the case? One long serving commissioner who is stepping down this year told me “Serving on a public commission is like walking around with a target on your back.” The increasingly negative comments spoken at meetings or posted online are wearing. If we cannot attract candidates, we will have little luck maintaining a healthy democratic process.
I thank all 15 people who threw their hats in the ring. The rest of us need to figure out what it would it take for us to get involved. What needs to change? What can we do better?
I look forward to hearing your ideas.
Have a great weekend!