Local Elections Matter – How Jaws Got It Wrong
By Paddy McGuire, Mason County Auditor
Larry Vaughn is the mayor of fictional Amity Island in the first Jaws movie and several of his citizens are devoured by a shark. The mayor resists efforts to protect his citizens and more die. Then, in the sequel, Vaughn is still mayor and more Amity Islanders are eaten. One can only conclude that the voters of Amity Island did not hold the mayor accountable. The message of Larry Vaughn’s resilience is that local elections don’t matter.
Jaws got it wrong. Local elections matter a lot.
It’s not just Hollywood that gets it wrong. The State Legislature tells us what order to list offices on the ballot and unsurprisingly, they put themselves ahead of city councils, county commissions, school district boards, ports, hospital and fire districts.
Yet, it is just those local governments that have the greatest impact on our daily lives, in big and small ways. The quality of our local schools matters a great deal if we have school age kids, but also for the neighbor kids if we don’t. Whether the fire hall nearest to our home is staffed 24/7 matters. Whether the roads get repaired and the occasional snow gets plowed matters. How much our property taxes are, in order to pay for all of these services, matters. All of these things have a direct impact on our daily lives in a way that the nation’s foreign policy does not.
In odd numbered years, we elect people to a wide variety of offices that oversee our schools, fire districts, ports, and even a cemetery district. Neighbors step up to run for these offices out of a call to service and desire to make our communities better places.
Running for one of these offices is pretty simple. There will be a primary election in August and the general election in November. A list of the available offices can be found on the Offices Up For Election page of our website, along with other Candidate Resources.
You’ll need to file for office during the week of May 17-24, file with the State Public Disclosure Commission and you are a candidate. Mason County will be printing a voters’ pamphlet beginning with the August primary, so getting the word out to voters has never been easier.
And even if you don’t want to run yourself, I urge you to pay attention to local elections, read the new voters’ pamphlet, and to vote. If you know a kid, if you want somebody to show up if you call the sheriff or fire department, if you don’t like pot holes, if you pay taxes, then you have a stake in who gets elected to these offices.
This is your chance to make sure that Larry Vaughn does not get reelected.