Kontos Column: Now is the time to get involved

By Dan Kontos

With a fridge full of Thanksgiving leftovers, now is the time to look to April of next year. Yes, I know, there is Christmas and New Year to look forward to, but there are other important dates coming up as well.

For those of you who are considering throwing your preverbal hat into the ring for a local elected office, you need to get ready to act now. There has been a lot of talk lately from all sorts of ordinary folks that see the need to get involved in local government. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the series of deadlines to run until it’s too late. They miss the opportunity, and another potential good candidate is passed by.

The 2022 non-partisan spring election is April 5. That’s the election that will determine many of the local elected officials, such as city alderpersons, village trustees, and town supervisors. But that’s not all. Seats for county board supervisors, county executive, two circuit court judges, and one judge from the court of appeals are up for grabs. Oh, and don’t forget the school board seats that rollover next year too.

Running for office is not for everyone. I never saw myself doing it, but the demands of the times pushed me to spend a short stint as an elected official. I learned a lot, and even enjoyed myself at times. If you’re thinking about it, now is the time to act.

All too often, local elected positions go uncontested. Not that incumbents are necessarily bad in and of themselves, but it would be nice to have a choice between competing points of view. More on this in a future column.

Contested elections also tend to keep the elected officials responsive to the people. If there is never any competition, complacency and indifference can creep in. We’ve seen all too often that some of these incumbents can lose touch with the citizens who elected them for these offices, and they do what is in their own personal best interest or desires, rather than what is in the people’s best interest. Not all of them, but too many for my taste.

Non-partisan elections mean that the positions being filled have no party affiliation. There is no need to slog through the depths of Republican or Democrat politics. This is simply about community and service, or at least it should be.

So, if you are interested in vying for any of these positions, here is what you need to know. 

The first day that you can circulate nomination papers for any of these positions is December 1st. School board members do not need to collect signatures in the Stevens Point district.

The final day for filing any nomination papers is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 4th. Those papers must be filed with the appropriate election clerk, except that candidates for judge file with the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC). Those dates are right around the corner, especially considering that the holiday season is already busy enough.

Check with the appropriate clerk for more information, as well as the WEC web page. You should also check the legal Notice of Election, which is required to be published by the fourth Tuesday in November (which is November 23rd this year) for each unit of government. Not every clerk has met this requirement as of this date, so if you don’t find yours, contact your clerk.

To recap:

  • First day to circulate papers – December 1, 2021
  • All paperwork due to the proper clerk – January 4, 2022
  • Primary day – February 15, 2022
  • Spring elections – April 5, 2022

For government to work, not only do we need to get out and vote in free and fair elections, but we also need to have good people to hire for these positions. An election that only offers just one substandard candidate for an office can lead to obvious and predictably rancid results.

If you are interested and willing to run, now is the time. Don’t let another opportunity slip by.

So, with that, let’s meet in the opinion section to talk about all of it, boldly, unafraid, and with a healthy respect for each other. Don’t forget about those Americans still trapped in Afghanistan. Until then, God bless.

Dan Kontos is a paid columnist for the Metro Wire. He chooses his own topics and his opinions do not necessarily represent the staff of the Metro Wire. He lives with his family in Whiting. 

We are seeking a liberal columnist. Anyone with interest should email [email protected]

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