Letter to the Editor
May 11, 2023 | View PDF
Now that we are past the pre-election discussions surrounding the election for our local school board candidates, and voting has begun, I’m wondering if our community, based on our recent experience, can come to some agreement about how we might improve the process for future elections.
What have we learned from this McKenzie School District Board of Directors election?
We’ve learned that it would have been more helpful to have been able to see statements from our candidates in the Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet. Not all states enjoy this aspect of the election process Oregonians are privileged to utilize it to make informed decisions. The statements can give all voters a chance to at least look at their educational background (or not), occupational background (or not), community service record (or not), and more. These alone can tell us important things about the candidate we might not be able to consider otherwise. It is an important tradition that should not be taken for granted, even by the smallest of communities, whose votes are just as important as our big urban areas.
We’ve learned that engaging our candidates in a public forum/debate is crucial to drawing out specific outlooks and goals our candidates would bring to their community service as school board members. In addition, community members have the opportunity to express their value of the democratic process itself by engaging in a process that is civil, inclusive, and thoughtful for those who are coming after us.
We’ve learned that we find stuffing our main roadway link to each other with lawn signs is offensive, and is not helpful at all to voters who are attempting to make an informed decision about who we believe is the best choice to represent us in matters important to our community.
We’ve learned that there are those in the community who might exercise a cloaked personal, religious, or political agenda to gain power for power’s sake and that this is not a healthy prospect for our community.
With this in mind, we might ask ourselves these 4 questions:
Can we agree that in the future all candidates will commit to placing a statement in the Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet, which is one important guide for voters to at least get a general idea of who the individuals asking for our votes are?
Can we agree that having an open, well-attended, and properly administered Candidates Forum is helpful to voters and that all candidates agree to attend?
Can we agree that, while a few “lawn” signs are acceptable, it is inappropriate and not helpful to voters who want to make an informed choice, to crowd our main thoroughfare with heavily posted lawn signs?
Can we agree that a healthy school Board of Directors should not consist of more than one person from any one family, and certainly not consist of any “group” of candidates who might have a personal agenda based on some religious or political stances?
For our young people here, and for the future of this community, I sure hope the best thing that comes out of this local election is that we don’t want a repeat.