I am thrilled to see such an outpouring of support for candidates on every side in the upcoming Texas midterm elections. But, while this kind of excitement is great, we can’t forget an upcoming election that is perhaps even more important than November.
After voters make their decisions in the November elections, attention will immediately turn to the elections in May 2019. Amarillo has been scandal plagued over the past year, with many poor decisions being made by various local governmental bodies, notably the Amarillo City Council. From citizens arrested after clapping to poor responses to Animal Management & Welfare’s failures to ensure proper animal welfare, Amarillo has been treated to a rough year and a half, courtesy of the Amarillo City Council.
However, members of the community have also raised concerns about the way the Amarillo Independent School District has handled various issues and about government ethics as a whole. A nearly $200 million bond issue this year for Canyon ISD voters and a bond issue in 2017 for Amarillo ISD voters should also encourage citizens to consider the consequences of debt on local government operations. Universal tax increases, additionally, should spark debate about government spending habits.
Personally, I am hoping to see a robust field of candidates contest the Amarillo mayoral race, City Council elections and elections for the Amarillo College Board of Regents and the Amarillo Independent School District Board of Trustees. Not to mention the Canyon City Commission and other bodies.
Local voters are best served by having a plethora of options and it will be important to make sure a large number of quality candidates will be appearing on the ballot.
I have been saying for quite a while that, in regards to the Amarillo City Council, I believe Amarillo deserves better than what we are currently faced with. While I believe it is highly unlikely that I will run for any offices, I encourage every individual with a passion for community service and an understanding of basic government functions to run for office. Amarillo needs more leaders who are interested in serving the entire community versus serving a small group of special interests and power brokers.
So, please, vote in November. But, once your vote has been cast, turn your attention towards May. Your community needs you now more than ever.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief