Candidates for the right reasons

The 2018 filing period for local and state races got off to a robust start Monday, with seven people tossing their hats into the political arena. Some of them were incumbents, others were first-timers; all seemed eager to offer service to their community either as a county commissioner, the sheriff, a state senator or the county’s clerk of court.

Between those who have already announced their intentions to run, and those we have heard about through the political grapevine, this week should see even more people joining the candidate ranks by week’s end. And who knows how many will be added to the roster by the time the filing period ends at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

It is refreshing to see so much interest in the local and state races, which include county commissioner seats, NC Senate, NC House, clerk of court, sheriff and school board seats for both the city and county school systems.

We applaud all those who have already signed their name on the dotted line, and we encourage others who have an interest in making this county and our state the very best it can be for all its citizens to consider joining the ranks of those who believe public service is important.

There’s no question it is; and there is no question we need good, hard-working, selfless individuals to be among those making decisions that will impact each of us in very important ways.

As this filing period moves into its first full week, we hope those who have filed, and those who are considering a run for public office, remember the most important responsibilities of the offices they seek are to the citizens they will represent.

Filing for office, and being a public servant, is no easy task. In fact, there are few harder. You cannot please all the people all the time. But those who hold public office should do so with a humble spirit, knowing that voters have entrusted them not only with their own lives, but the lives of their families and the lives of their friends and neighbors across our great county and state.

It is a heady place at the table of public service, where power should be wielded unselfishly and carefully, with one eye always on stewardship and the other clearly focused on the greater good.

Those who seek office should not do it for the power, nor the money, nor for personal agendas. If they do, we hope they lack the votes to take the all-important seats of governance that they seek.

It is our hope that those who run, and ultimately those who win elected office, will be individuals who put service above self, who put the county’s best interest ahead of their own, and who look at the citizenry as a whole, making decisions that are based on vision, forethought, honor and truth.

Before they sign on the dotted line to be a candidate, we hope each of those who plan to seek election will consider why they are running and only do so if they can, in their heart, be that kind of public servant.

Anything less cheats a great county out of the leadership it richly deserves.