Time to eye stepping up, running for elected post

By Mike Anthony

Candidate filing began Tuesday for the municipal and school board elections set for April 5 and will continue until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Up for election are municipal seats in Crestwood, Grantwood Village, Green Park and Sunset Hills. The Sunset Hills mayoral post also is up for election. In addition, seats on the Lindbergh and Mehlville school boards are up for election.

As we’ve opined before, our form of government comes with tremendous responsibilities. Besides voting, our democratic process demands that we have good candidates who offer clear choices to the electorate.

Those who feel strongly about local issues shouldn’t hesitate to toss their hat in the ring. Unfortunately, it’s far easier to complain instead of running for office and trying to change things yourself. As such, the Call encourages residents to file for office and serve their fellow citizens.

Despite the impact — both positive and negative — elected officials have on our quality of life, public service more often than not is a thankless endeavor. It’s certainly not for the thin-skinned or faint-hearted.

Being an effective elected official requires an individual to devote a great deal of time to studying the issues facing the governmental body on which that person is serving. An effective elected official also must have a willingness to ask questions in public and be able to analyze information provided by the highly paid professionals in charge of the body’s day-to-day operations.

In addition, an effective elected official must have the intestinal fortitude to place the welfare of the citizens he or she is serving over those of special-interest groups that have no qualms about trying to manipulate the process for their own gain.

Unfortunately, some elected officials capitulate to special-interest groups the day they’re elected and mark their tenure serving as a rubber stamp to further the agenda of those special interests.

Elected officials have an obligation to treat constituents with respect, regardless of their personal opinion of them, and a duty to listen to what citizens have to say — regardless of whether they agree. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that not all elected officials believe that.

Elected officials are to be commended for their public service. But those seeking office should be forewarned that we won’t hesitate to speak out if we disagree with them on an issue that adversely impacts the public.