Walla Walla School Board member Dan Hess, who has served from 1985 to 1993 and again from 2010 until now, is not seeking a fourth term.
Hess, in making his announcement at a recent school board meeting, said he wanted to announce his intentions early so there is ample time for potential school board members to meet the May 13 to 17 filing period.
Good for him. Hess is looking out for the best interests of the community.
The School Board has very important decisions to make in the next few years, particularly in regard to replacing and updating aging facilities. The $69.6 million proposal to overhaul Walla Walla High School failed to gain the necessary voter support for approval.
But the School Board isn’t alone in dealing with important issues. A variety of school boards and city councils have tough decisions to make.
Strong leadership is needed.
Serving on a local school board or city council is a huge commitment. It takes a lot of time and requires totally investing yourself in the job.
We know there will be at least one open seat (Director 1) on the Walla Walla School Board, but a total of three seats are up for grabs. The post now held by Cindy Meyer (Director 2) is a four-year term and Ruth Ladderud’s Director 3 position is for two years, the remaining time left after a member resigned last year.
It is important to have at least two candidates for every position. That view is not meant as a reflection on the incumbents. It’s about making local representative government as strong as possible.
When there is a contested race it forces incumbents and candidates to articulate their views to the voters. And, perhaps more importantly, those on the ballot get an unfiltered opportunity to find out exactly what the voters are thinking.
In addition to the three School Board slot open, three seats on the Walla Walla City Council are also up for grabs. Those are the positions held by Jim Barrow, Shane Laib and Conrado Cavazos Jr.
Also on the ballot is the Port of Walla Walla Commissioner District 1 slot now held by Paul H. Schneidmiller.
Outside of the Walla Walla urban area the ballot will be full of school board and city council seats as well as a number of fire commissions.
Filing starts May 13 at the County Elections Office, 301 W. Poplar St., and ends on May 17.
Now is the time to ponder whether to seek one of these important jobs that help shape the direction of the community.