Tuesday, Jan. 7, marks the deadline for candidates to toss their hat into the ring and get their name on the spring ballot. In Jefferson County, many county supervisor, city council, village trustee, town supervisor and school board seats are up for election.

We know of several instances in which the incumbents are not seeking another term or where, so far, no one has shown an interest in running for office. Perhaps they were just too busy with the holidays, caught up with the national political scene or plan to file at the eleventh hour. Whatever the reason, we urge them to step forward now, because local government can’t run by itself.

As 2020 gets under way, there are a myriad of issues that our local representatives will need to face. First and foremost, for all cities, villages, towns, school districts and the county alike, is the budget, or, rather, how to squeeze the most from each and every taxpayer dollar. Local government must continue to do the difficult task of finding creative ways to spend less while retaining the high level of services expected by residents. Exactly how to do that requires fresh ideas.

But that’s not all. Growth, economic development, student academic achievement, open enrollment, fire and ambulance services, retaining quality of life, street repairs, taxes ... government officials certainly will be discussing these issues and more in their coming terms.

But first, those officials must be elected. We encourage anyone out there who has an interest in helping guide our communities’ futures to file his or her candidacy by this Tuesday deadline. Yes, it takes a commitment of time and talent; however, doing one’s civic duty can be rewarding in and of itself. And there usually is a small stipend.

Of course, volunteerism is just one of the necessary attributes for a good public servant; his or her stance on the issues important to you is another. But without candidates, there is no public discussion, and without public discussion, voters can become apathetic and uninformed.

Your community and schools need your input and time now. The deadline for filing nomination papers for candidacy is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7. Sure, that’s only about 24 hours, but what a difference a day can make.

See you on the ballot.

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