'F' as in Frank

A spring forward for local democracy

Six solid candidates applied for one Sunnyside City Council vacancy. A dozen or more qualified candidates are seeking a "Fvacant state house seat.

Notice a trend here?

Say hello to an uptick in participatory government.

Whether it's gangs or the economy or both, citizens are showing an increased interest in getting involved with making the decisions that matter - not just criticizing them after they're a done deal.

Combined, around 20 people or so are seeking the two positions mentioned above. They are donating their time away from family, work and other commitments to seek office.

All this effort just to turn around in three months and file to run for the office, if they're appointed, and perhaps in just six months face a primary race.

On Monday Jesse Hernandez Jr. was appointed to fill the Sunnyside vacancy. In about two weeks we'll hear from county Republicans on who they think should fill Dan Newhouse's former house seat.

It's a win-win situation, as the public gets a good candidate pool to choose from. For those not appointed it can be a springboard to seek selection to other boards and commissions. Sunnyside, in particular, has two commission openings with Hernandez's appointment.

I like what one of the Sunnyside candidates said during Monday night's interviews. He said if he wasn't selected - and he wasn't - council would see him again in November because he plans to run for office.

I like that attitude and hopefully this surge in interest will carry over to this fall for those appointed or not appointed.

Wouldn't it be something if there was a primary race in September for the 15th district seat or if there were contests for all four of the city's council positions on the ballot this fall?

And with districting all but a done deal, it should be a wide open fall for Sunnyside politics.

I had the opportunity elsewhere to serve on a town planning commission three years and enjoyed it. If I wasn't a reporter now - in the interest of fairness and objectivity - I'd probably throw my hat in the ring for a Sunnyside council or commission seat.

Here's hoping a spring forward in local candidates continues its momentum with filings for office in the summer.

That in turn could lead to fall races that encourage an open discussion on what needs to be fixed - and commended - in Sunnyside and our legislative district.


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