Not only do American citizens have an obligation to vote, they have an obligation to run for office. It’s not someone else’s job.

Government of the people and by the people simply doesn’t work unless citizens are willing to serve their counties, cities, states and nation.

The deadline for candidates to file to run in this fall’s local elections is coming up fast on Friday, Sept. 6, less than two weeks away.

Seats are open in nearly every city, on the Blaine County School Board, the Recreation District, cemetery boards and rural fire districts.

Local public boards desperately need skilled and sensible leaders who can work together and put good policy and projects on the ground.

Even so, many boards make filing to run for office like an obscure geo-caching exercise in which potential candidates have to search widely to find out which seats and which districts are open and what the filing requirements are.

Public boards need infusions of new energy. Election challenges can spark that energy and new ideas. Yet, no local commission, council or board conducts training for potential candidates. They do not post “Run for Office” banners over their Main Streets or on their office doors. They should.

Most local seats are nonpartisan, so political parties do not play a major role in recruitment. So, it’s up to citizens to run.

Even the most obscure tax district boards can play huge roles in the lives of local residents. The Ketchum Rural Fire District board recently blasted Ketchum’s budget by moving its contract for services to the city of Sun Valley, making it difficult for the city to fund a full complement of firefighters also trained for medical emergencies.

Today, the best way to find out how to file to run for office is to call the clerk of a district, a city or the county and ask for help in what is a simple process.

Blaine County, its cities and its districts need good citizens to serve in office. If that’s not you, then who?

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