Voters win as 11 candidates run for WW City Council

When incumbents face challengers it forces them to articulate their positions and listen to the people. And the challengers must do the same.

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Competition is a great thing in sports, business -- and politics.

So we are thrilled to see so many people -- 11 total -- filed their intentions to run for the four Walla Walla City Council seats that will be decided in this November's General Election.

Our positive feeling about this large number of candidates is not a reflection of what the incumbents have done or not done while serving on the Council. Our enthusiasm is rooted only in the fact there will be spirited campaigns for all four Council seats.

Uncontested races for elected offices are simply not good for the public.

When elected officials don't face challengers they don't have an opportunity to engage with the people and discuss the issues. The candidates don't get to hear what is on the voters' minds nor do they have an opportunity to fully articulate and express their views.

Sure, these uncontested candidates might have to offer a brief statement at a forum or two, but they are not challenged to address specific issues, offer details on what they would do and answer voters' questions.

Candidates who face challenges are often better prepared to serve in office.

At this point, it's difficult to say specifically why each individual Council member has at least one challenger.

But it seems clear the city of Walla Walla has issues -- from street quality to the downtown sign ordinance -- that have people focused on city government.

It's going to be an interesting summer as two of the four incumbents have more than one challenger, which means the field will be narrowed to two in the Aug. 16 primary.

Council member Dominick Elia is being challenged by Paul Mobley, Mary Lou Jenkins and Jack Kammer.

Council member Jerry Cummins faces Dick Swenson and Jim Hackett.

Council member Fred Mitchell has been challenged by Chris Plucker while Mayor Barbara Clark has been challenged for her Council seat by Bradley Sandau. (Walla Walla's mayor is elected by the seven Council members after the November election.)

The next few months will be busy ones as the candidates for these important City Council positions interact with the voters to make their case for why they should be elected.

It's a time when the candidates' positions will be challenged as well as for them to reflect on what the people are telling them they want to see from their Council members.

Having nearly a dozen people run for these positions is simply fantastic. This election has already produced a winner -- the voters of Walla Walla.

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