Best kind of civic activism

Even if the weather doesn’t provide it, plenty of heat can be expected this summer — in election races on the August primary ballot.

A remarkable — and encouraging — number of folks tossed their summer head wear into the ring last week, the filing period for local offices. Far more positions on city councils and school boards than in recent years will be contested this time around. Several feature more than two candidates, meaning they’ll appear on the Aug. 16 primary ballot, which will start landing in voters’ mailboxes at the end of July.

One free-for-all has six candidates seeking an open seat on the Everett School Board. In Arlington, six citizens are running to replace popular two-term Mayor Margaret Larson. Incumbent mayors in Marysville, Lake Stevens, Edmonds and Darrington face challenges.

(All positions on the ballot this year, except county executive and county council, are nonpartisan. Races with three or more candidates will appear on the primary ballot, with the top two finishers advancing to the Nov. 8 general election. Nonpartisan races with just two candidates won’t be on the primary ballot.)

In Everett, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Monroe, Mukilteo, Mountlake Terrace, Stanwood and Bothell, no city council race is going uncontested. One or more school board races will appear on the primary ballot in the Edmonds, Everett, Marysville and Monroe school districts.

The field for the County Council’s District 2 seat, representing Everett and Mukilteo, will be whittled down in August, with incumbent Democrat Brian Sullivan challenged by two Republicans, Jason Mills and Glen Sayes. So will the contest for county assessor, where incumbent Cindy Portmann squares off against Betty DeLay and Chris Vallo.

Running for local office isn’t an easy decision. Sure, it may provide a temporary ego boost, but that quickly gets overshadowed by the commitment of time — a sacrifice shared by a candidate’s family — the hard work of campaigning, and the sobering, often thankless challenge of preparing to serve, especially in a time of tight budgets and pressing needs.

Most local positions pay very little; many are essentially volunteer posts. Folks who step up to run demonstrate an admirable desire to make their communities better, to make a positive difference.

We applaud them all.

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