Stepping into the local political arena takes heart, courage, conviction and charisma.
But what else does it take? If you want your name on that ballot come Oct. 15, you might want to take some notes.
To be eligible to run for local office, you must be a resident of B.C. for at least six months before nomination documents are submitted; nomination packages will be available in August. You must be 18 or older on Oct. 15, be a Canadian citizen and not be otherwise disqualified from being elected.
For the District of Kent, nomination packages are available in August and need to be filed between Aug. 30 and Sept. 9 in order to be considered for the Oct. 15 ballot. Along the same vein, nominations begin at 9 a.m. on Aug. 30 in Harrison Hot Springs and end Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. The terms of all five members of both Kent council and Harrison Hot Springs council expire in October of this year.
“Be Prepared” has long been the motto of the Boy Scouts of America, and its simple message rings clear to those who seek election, too. It’s vital to have a solid grasp on the needs and challenges your community faces. You’re not going to be an effective candidate without educating yourself by keeping up with the council, local organizations and local news. Be sure to attend meetings; in addition to learning about local issues, you’ll better understand how meetings are meant to run.
Getting to know the job and understanding community issues may seem like an obvious point; I have no intent to insult your intelligence. However, in the years I’ve covered local politics here and abroad, I’ve personally seen multiple candidates try to improvise when addressing community-relevant questions in those all-important pre-election debates before. It rarely works for the candidate or the greater good.
If you have a fire for being a force for positive change in the community, I would encourage you to at least consider running for office. While I strive to hold the current administrations accountable, I don’t want to discount what’s been accomplished under their leadership thus far. However, I believe the District of Kent and the Village of Harrison Hot Springs can only benefit from new ideas balanced out with current wisdom. The people of Agassiz-Harrison may also decide to keep everyone seeking re-election or just wipe the slate clean and start over. It’s that decision process that makes elections exciting and democracy effective, when used correctly.
The decisions we make now will determine if we grow, evolve and leave a better world for the triumphs and trials our next generations will face. Maybe your idea will be the one to make this community a much better place.
Change in government starts with your local ballot box. If you’re hungry to help, you know what to do.