Let the filing begin

Monday marked the opening day of filing for the 2015 municipal elections in Sampson County, a day, every two years, when we eagerly anticipate who will seek re-election to town boards and mayoral seats and the newcomers who just might toss their hat into the political arena.

It’s an exciting time locally, but it has also become a somewhat anxious two weeks (filing ends on July 17) as well, given the dwindling number of incumbents and newcomers expressing an interest in public service, particularly in Sampson’s smaller municipalities.

Not too long ago, we can recall there being no immediate takers for the Turkey mayoral spot. Eventually the seat was filled, but it left many holding their breath and wondering what exactly would happen to the small eastern Sampson town if no leader emerged.

There have been other near misses with candidate slates either empty or short over the last decade, a sad trend we hope will not continue this year.

There are a total 26 elected seats on town boards across Sampson County whose terms are about to end, including mayoral posts in every town except Garland. That includes the mayoral seat held by long-time Salemburg leader Bobby Strickland and Roseboro neighbor David Alexander who has said he won’t seek another term as that town’s leader.

It is our hope that there will be those who want an opportunity to serve their towns and will step out to accept the responsibility of public service, whether the position they seek is one of mayor or board member. There is a need for a good slate of candidates so residents can select the best from among all those who have a desire to serve.

While the hours can be long and the jobs thankless, there is much to gain from serving on local town boards, namely the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a mark on your community, helping it to grow and prosper.

Our incumbent leaders have done stellar jobs throughout Sampson’s municipalities, keeping the ships righted, taxes as low as possible and progress as steady as the economy would allow. We’ve seen great vision in places like Clinton, Roseboro and Salemburg, and a steady hand in areas like Newton Grove, Autryville, Turkey and Garland. We hope leaders whose terms expire this year will consider another term, just as we hope others will toss their hat in the ring, giving voters true choices.

What we don’t want to see is an empty slate come July 17 in any of the towns where terms are expiring.

That’s why today we encourage those who believe in public service and understand the need to give back to the communities which have given them so much to seriously consider taking the bold steps necessary to seek another term or their first crack at local government.

The experience, we are certain, will be thrilling and sometimes aggravating, rewarding and sometimes disappointing but always altruistic.

We, here at The Sampson Independent, will keep residents updated on who is filing through our website, our tweets, our Facebook posts and our website updates, allowing you to see the progress we hope is being made in filling the slate of candidates needed to keep each of our municipalities moving forward.