Auditor Mary Hall
Photo courtesy: Thurston County Auditor
– “Running for office: Why not you?”
By Mary Hall, Thurston County Auditor
Op-Ed in The Olympian
The heightened political awareness across the country is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Regardless of where you sit on the political fence, one thing is certain: this year’s local elections are a great opportunity for you to make a difference in Thurston County.
Decisions made by local elected officials affect your daily life, often far more than those made by the president or vice president. You might get to work faster with good roads; if you live within incorporated areas of Thurston County, maintaining roads is the job of the city council (the county takes care of roads in unincorporated areas). You might love what your kids are learning in school and want more of it; curriculum is the job of the school board. You might prefer a skate park to a wooded park; types of parks are by local elected leaders. If you own a small business, you might see a boost in profits depending on the health of the Port of Olympia; the port commissioners oversee the direction of the port.
Eighty elected offices are up for election this fall, all of which are important to the health and vibrancy of our community. Do you have ideas about how to improve public safety, schools or emergency resources? Local elected office might be just the place for you.
Many high-ranking elected officials got their start at the local level. Sen. Patty Murray started on the Snohomish School District Board of Directors. Seven of our nine statewide elected leaders began their political careers at the county level, including Kim Wyman, who was elected Thurston County auditor before she became secretary of state. Mike Kreidler was a North Thurston Public Schools Board director before serving as a state representative, state senator, U.S. representative and now Washington’s insurance commissioner. Chris Reykdal was a Tumwater School Board director before serving in the legislature and becoming Washington’s superintendent of public instruction last year.
Karen Fraser, who is one of the most impactful and influential leaders in Thurston County, first served as a city council member and then became the first female mayor of Lacey before moving on to the Thurston County Board of Commissioners, Washington House of Representatives and Washington State Senate.
Plenty of opportunities exist to make a difference here in Thurston County. With the exception of Thurston County treasurer, the 80 elected positions on this year’s ballot are not full-time jobs. City council members and port commissioners meet weekly, and school board directors and fire commissioners meet twice a month. These local meetings are open to the public, engaging and often tackle important local issues.
As you consider the 80 possibilities for how you can improve the lives of your fellow Thurston County residents, ask yourself: Why not me?
Read more, Hall’s Op-Ed was published in The Olympian.
– Interested in learning how to become a candidate?
Click here for ThurstonVotes.org.
– Filing Week – May 15-19, 2017
– An important message from the Thurston County Auditor
“As the Chief Elections Official for Thurston County, I empower all eligible people to vote. It’s your right, and your voice is important.”