Amarillo has an extremely important and intriguing election approaching in just a few months.
In May, voters will elect four individuals to the Amarillo City Council, a mayor, four school district trustees and three college district trustees. Those in Canyon also have an election at the same time, deciding the next batch of four city commissioners, a mayor and several seats on the Canyon school board. While elections come and go every year, this particular election has many intriguing elements.
For the Amarillo ISD Board, there has been real debate recently regarding whether or not trustees are truly considering the opinions of taxpayers in North Amarillo and in East Amarillo. For the Amarillo College Board of Regents, tax and spending questions loom into the next legislative session, and for the Amarillo City Council, there’s too much to list here. From the arrest of a citizen for clapping, to simple policy regarding animal management, there are many important factors that could decide that election.
It is worth noting that not one of the boards or entities is more important than another. Each of these entities decides important tax and policy questions. Each of these entities has a duty to represent citizens. And, in some cases, each of these entities have failed in their responsibilities to citizens, in some way or another.
This is not to say every member of each of these bodies have failed the voters and citizens of Amarillo. For some of these entities, individual members have taken stands against bad decisions. But, most of the time, members of various elected bodies are content letting chances to do the right thing slip away, all while looking ahead to the next re-election campaign.
I would encourage every person reading this article to consider making a bid for office next year. Certain incumbents, such as Amarillo ISD trustee John Betancourt, could count on my support if they choose to run for re-election. Other incumbents should be replaced by voters. However, in each of these cases, voters will have to weigh all of the factors when considering their votes.
If you feel that a change is needed among any of these entities, consider making a bid for office this year. Locally, a candidate academy is currently accepting applicants (https://www.facebook.com/Local-Candidates-Academy-283879805672936/). Resources are also available through various statewide parties, and from other advocacy groups. This is not to say you must follow this route to run. Running for office is just as easy as turning in a form and your filing fee. You could even reach out to us at email@example.com and we will help provide you with election information and resources about running for office.
So, with real opportunities for change coming in 2019, every person who is interested in serving their community should consider making a run for office. Amarillo is counting on principled individuals to stand up and make a difference. Filing begins in January, so please start thinking about it now. Amarillo is counting on you.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief