Aiken residents must be particularly satisfied with the current direction of City Council. As of Thursday, only incumbents have announced their intention to run in anticipation of Monday’s deadline to file as a candidate.
For anyone who has derided Council’s decision making since the last election, we urge them to run. This encouragement is not a reflection of the performance of those already serving. Consequently, we’re not rallying for a change in leadership or calling out any particular members of Council. In fact, we commend their service. As all elected officials can attest, serving on a local board or council is not just about attending meetings once or twice a month. It’s about answering phone calls, meeting with constituents, helping your neighbors and working to improve the community for future generations.
However, if only incumbents have the mental preparedness or intestinal fortitude or whatever else it takes to run for office, it flattens the impact of those who complain about the direction of the city. If the filing period passes without any challenge to those already in office, the vocal opposition to Council until the next round of elections will certainly be less consequential.
City Council has not been void of criticism since the last election. During the past several months, Council has been chided for the direction it has taken with green infrastructure projects related to Hitchcock Woods, the strictness of City zoning codes and the possible expansion of Hitchock Parkway, to name a few.
Those who have knocked their decision making, and even reprimanded Council for leaving residents voiceless during meetings, should toss their name into contention.
Obviously, no representative body is perfect. Simply take a look at the abysmal popularity rating of the U.S. Congress. But to make a deeper impact on the community, consider running for office. Be a decision maker and try to leave the community better than you found it.
We understand off-year elections such as the one taking place this fall are almost always less contentious and attention grabbing. The ballot will be void of a governor’s race, options for representatives in Columbia and Washington or any kind of statewide Constitutional amendment. Consequently, participation across Aiken may be a little less enthusiastic than in 2014 or when the race for the White House heats up in 2016.
However, this shouldn’t curb the drive of those who want to make an impact locally. Take the weekend to consider a run for City Council. If you feel our community is not moving in the right direction, take a chance and add your name to the ballot. The voters may just agree with you.