The filing fee is only $2 but candidates who run for the Brainerd School Board and win election know there are additional costs. Those costs are measured in terms of time spent away from family, dinner-hour phone calls from angry constituents and criticism from opponents.
That's why we doff our hats to the men and women who are willing to throw their own hats in the ring for any public office. The great privilege of free elections is a hollow exercise if voters don't have any candidates to chose from at election time.
No one gets rich from a political career at the city, county or school board level. They serve because they have a vested interest in the future of their community and want to give something back to society. Being an elected official is often a thankless job with criticism coming from every quarter and people more than happy to condemn you if a mistake is made.
The Brainerd School District is fortunate to have 10 candidates for three positions in its November school board elections. Nine of the candidates are non-incumbents. That's a healthy sign that people are interested in their schools and are willing to work to make them better. Nothing can harm a district more than apathy.
Here's a thought. Rather than regard candidates as a nuisance when they're door-knocking or soliciting our votes we should thank them for running and offering us a choice at the ballot box -- even if they're candidates with opposing views.
And speaking of thanks, Brainerd School District residents owe a thank-you to the two school board incumbents who chose not to run this year -- Janet Moran and Randy Klinger. Moran provided a calm and intelligent voice on the board for 16 years and provided strong leadership during the drive to build Forestview Middle School. Klinger, who's completing his first term, brought personal energy and expertise from his role as the Brainerd Family YMCA's top executive to the school board.
It's the candidates, with their fresh ideas and willingness to take a stand, that make our elections meaningful.
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