The political dust of last November’s election might feel like it has barely settled.
In fact, there are plenty of people who would say there is still campaign dirt in the air — especially at the national level.
But guess what?
Another election season is right around the corner, and we would encourage anyone who has thought about running for office to give it some serious consideration over the next couple of weeks.
Candidate filing is May 15-19.
There are 55 offices open each in Franklin County and Benton County. They include positions on school boards and city councils, port commissions and hospital district boards.
The list of offices up for election can be found at the Benton and Franklin county auditor websites. Filing fees are required for paid positions, but not for those that are strictly volunteer.
It takes courage and gumption to run for office — especially against a popular incumbent. So we appreciate it when people make the attempt.
While the Tri-Cities is fortunate to have several admirable public servants who have been in office a long time, democracy works better when they don’t get a free pass to another term.
Opponents force incumbents to defend their records, discuss issues, explain why they voted the way they did and talk about their goals for the future.
Constituents should be able to choose whether they re-elect someone. When incumbents run unopposed, there is no choice.
And who knows? Voters may decide they want a change and elect a challenger.
For those who want to run for office but don’t know where to start, we would suggest checking out online the 2017 Candidate Handbook created by the Benton County Election Department, and the 2017 Franklin County Candidate Guide.
The how-to handbooks deal with just about everything a potential candidate might need to know. Key dates, campaign sign regulations and guidelines for the voter pamphlet are a few of the many topics covered.
In Pasco, the upcoming election is unique because all seven city council positions are open thanks to a voting district change and a new process.
In the past, Pasco had five city council positions represented by voting districts and two at-large positions. Citizens voted by district in the primary election, but in the general election, the vote was citywide.
Now Pasco will have one at-large seat voted on citywide and the other six will be voted on by district. This new system helps Pasco comply with the federal Voting Rights Act.
People with Latino heritage currently make up 56 percent of Pasco’s population, but a Latino candidate never has won a contested city council race.
And it isn’t for lack of trying. Latino candidates have run in almost every election since 1990.
The two Latino members currently serving on the Pasco City Council were appointed — Chi Flores and Saul Martinez. It will be fascinating to see what happens this election in Pasco.
And it will be interesting to see what happens in other local races, as well. We hope people step up and file.