Voters need variety

Published 4:50 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Voters in Aurora, Bath, Belhaven, Chocowinity, Pantego, Washington and Washington Park go to the polls this fall to vote in their respective municipal elections.

The voters will choose mayors and members of a city council, board of aldermen or board of commissioners. If happy with how a mayor is performing his or her duties, there’s a good chance voters will return that mayor to office. The same goes for council or board members. But if unhappy with the performances of mayors and council or board members, voters have the opportunity to replace those incumbent elected officials with new ones.

In recent municipal elections, held every two years, incumbents, for the most part, have been returned to office several times. Some elected officials, such as Chocowinity Mayor Jimmy Mobley and Washington Park Mayor Tom Richter have been in office for decades.

Not that the incumbents are doing a poor job of carrying out their duties, but some fresh faces on the councils and boards might be a good thing. Those candidates connected to those fresh faces just might have some great ideas that could benefit their respective municipalities. They might have experience and skills the incumbents do not have and that would enhance their communities.

That said, incumbents have somewhat of an advantage because they’re in local government and have institutional knowledge of what’s happened in the past, what’s taking place now and what’s in works for the future of their respective communities. That experience and knowledge has value.

Hopefully, voters will get to choose from variety of knowledgeable incumbents and newcomers with new ideas as they decided how a council or board would be comprised. Not that an all-new council or board would be a bad thing, but having at least one incumbent with institutional memory of a city or town and experience in how council or board meetings are conducted would make for a well-balanced council or board that can effectively govern a city or town.

When the filing period ends at noon July 21, hopefully, the list of candidates will include candidates who offer a mixture of experience and new approaches to issues affecting the county’s seven municipalities.