Are you ready to serve in public office?

The filing period for many local offices is only weeks away. This is an opportunity to make a difference.

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It's the spring of 2011 and the 2012 presidential election is already on the minds of some voters. Almost daily we read or see reports of candidates entering or dropping out of the 2012 presidential race. Clearly it's an important election,

Yet, to many folks in the Walla Walla Valley and across the country there are more important elections on the horizon -- local elections.

Unfortunately, few are talking about who might hold these important local offices.

What local government does often impacts our lives more than the state or federal governments. Local governments oversee our streets, our water system and our schools. The decisions local officials make touch us everyday.

We should be taking seriously the November election for many local positions in Walla Walla, College Place, Dayton, Waitsburg, Touchet, Dixie and Prescott.

The process for filling those offices starts in just a few weeks. The one-week filing period at the County Courthouse runs from June 6 through June 10.

Those who have an interest in serving their communities need to give great thought to seeking one of the many positions that will be open. These are not easy jobs as they are very time consuming and seemingly thankless. The pay is so meager it's not worth mentioning -- a mere stipend.

Yet, those who serve on city councils and school boards make a huge difference in their communities and in the lives of their neighbors.

There is great satisfaction in serving.

One Port of Walla Walla commission seat is on the ballot as are a great many school board and city council seats.

For example, four seats are up for election on the Walla Walla City Council. The terms are up for Barbara Clark, Jerry Cummins, Fred Mitchel and Dominick Elia. Three Walla Walla School Board seats are up this year -- those held by Max Carrera, Jim Lehmann and Anne Golden.

In addition there are a number of water district and fire district commission seats on the ballot. For a complete list check out the Walla Walla County website at www.co.walla-walla.wa.us . Columbia County also has many local races. Check out www.columbiaco.com .

It would be great if every one of these offices had at least two people running. A vigorous campaign for local offices serves the public well. It brings the candidates closer to the people and makes for stronger local government.

Filing begins in just a few short weeks. This is your opportunity to serve.

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