Vail Daily column: Keeping our dignity | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Keeping our dignity

Jason E. Glass
Valley Voices

Fall is in the air and that means elections and campaigns contribute to the spookiness of the season. Buttons, stickers, yard signs and letters to the editor will appear over the next few weeks as candidates begin jockeying for position in hopes of a strong surge across the finish line as the votes are tallied on Election Day.

In reality, the election starts in Eagle County as soon as the mail-in ballots hit the postal system — Oct. 14-16. Mail-in ballots have made the exercise of our civic responsibilities in voting much more convenient than standing in lines on the first Tuesday in November. However, it has also extended the campaign season, effectively meaning that we are in the thick of electioneering right now.

Technically, this is considered an “off-year” election. However, the multiple races for seats on the Eagle County Schools Board of Education are notable exceptions. In total, nine candidates are vying for four seats on the seven-member board.

As a public servant, I’m prohibited from efforts to sway votes on behalf of this candidate or that one. I have had the chance to meet all of the candidates personally and will say they are good and well-intentioned individuals who want the best for the community’s children.

While endorsing any candidate would be way out of line, I believe strongly that our school district has a responsibility to make the public aware of the election and encourage citizens to be informed and to participate. As important as education is to our community, we should never allow the governance of this important work to go unnoticed and unattended.

I’m sure many in our community have heard the rumors about different slates of candidates and their intentions — I certainly have. I’ve also heard concerns about the divisiveness of such rumors and fears about what they may do to the community.

Both personally and professionally, I’ve always found it best to confront rumors directly and to go to the source. If you have concerns or questions about a candidate and how they feel — then the right thing to do is ask them. Nothing chases away the swirl and darkness of secrecy like the light.

Win or lose on Nov. 3, we will all still live in this community together on the other side of Election Day. Opposing camps and candidates one day will wake up as neighbors the next. So let’s work hard to focus on being “tough on the issues” and “easy on the people.”

Regardless of what differences may exist, they are not personal — they are positional.

So let’s commit to having an informed and honest election — and leave the bare-knuckle and destructive politics to the Beltway.

Jason E. Glass is the superintendent of Eagle County Schools. He can be reached at jason.glass@eagleschools.net.