All six county council candidates to attend forum June 29

Submitted by Minnie Kynch

Nationwide, an average of only one in five voters participate in local elections. Only a few votes can decide an election. This fall we have a very important local election that could affect life in San Juan County for years to come.

San Juan County has three residency districts and a three-member county council of one member from each district: Orcas, Lopez and San Juan. Members usually serve four-year, staggered terms.

In the August Primary, all San Juan County registered voters will have the opportunity to narrow the field of three candidates to two candidates from Orcas and two from San Juan District. Then again in November, we will have the responsibility of a final choice to vote for two new members of the three-member council.

This election could reshape local government in a big way! Council members are responsible for the county budget. Proposed budgets are often a wish list for the perfect. Before approving the budget, the council must consider the impact that bloated budgets have on businesses and citizens.

The County Council gives direction to the county manager on policy of running the day-to-day operation of county government. That can affect citizens in various ways; such as whether government services are available during the work day and all week; or whether your application for a building permit is handled in a timely manner. The working relationship between the council and the county manager also affects the morale of county employees for better or worse.

County Council approves infrastructure projects. Infrastructure like roads is vital. A current infrastructure proposal for a system of trails is controversial. Property owners along the proposed trail are concerned about the impact on their private property.

Now, more than ever, it’s important that all citizens vote. Please take time to get informed and evaluate candidates. There are several candidate forums on the calendar. Watch for notices and attend several. Ask questions.

The first candidate forum of the season is on June 29 at 1 p.m. downstairs at the American Legion in Friday Harbor.

Do the candidate’s priorities match yours? Know before your vote!