Many of you have a chance to make a commitment to serve your community if you act before noon on Jan. 22. If you are 21, a registered Marion County voter, have a bit of chutzpa and the desire to do something worthwhile, the job I am talking about has your name all over it. Other requirements include a residence in a given area and a willingness to give up some personal time for several years.
In return you might get to serve as mayor of Peabody, a member of the city council, or a member of USD 398 school board! Are you excited yet?
Perhaps excited is not the correct word to describe one’s call to be a public servant. Whatever your vision of the call, you are to be commended if you decide to run. You will be immersed in budget discussions — trying to do too much with too little and justifying it to the state, your constituents, your employees, and everyone who voted against you. You will spend hours looking at lists of long and short-term goals, going to meetings, listening to grumpy tax payers and coffee shop advisory boards, and trying to keep your mind on the parts that really do matter.
You probably will do some things that make you feel like you have contributed to your community or school district, but please do not get too cocky — there may still be someone out there wanting to criticize your ancestral lineage.
However, I have faith in you. I think you can do it. It won’t be easy, but many things in life are not easy and still we do them because they are rewarding. Am I right? I am.
And then, there is this other reason. A close friend decided to run for a board of education slot some years back during a controversial school board election. She said she was going to sign up and run because if she didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to put her name on the line and take her chances, then she never again would have the right to complain about the decisions of those who beat her out of a spot on the board.
Bingo! If you do not try to be a player, you do not get to complain about what the winning players do. She ran and, as I remember, she lost a very close race. She is one of the few people I know who deserves to complain whenever and wherever she chooses — she made the effort and the voters selected others.
So consider all those options and give it your best shot. I hope to see your name on the ballot. If I don’t, then I hope to never hear you complain about the winners and how they serve!
— SUSAN MARSHALL