Worthy of praise
Politics can be an ugly business, particularly at the state and national level. Local politics is often very different, but like lawyers, used-car sellers and, yes, journalists, it’s often too easy to tar local candidates with the same skunk-bristled brush used on those who court votes by the millions.
The Vail Daily endorses candidates for local office. Part of that process includes inviting candidates in for an informal chat with the newspaper’s editorial board, which this year includes publisher Don Rogers, editor Ed Stoner, business editor Scott Miller and reporter Randy Wyrick.
A good portion of this year’s candidates for the Eagle County School Board and Vail Town Council have already come in. Those people often hold quite different views about current representatives, the effectiveness of their policies and how those boards might do better work in the coming few years.
What isn’t different about the candidates who have so far come in for interviews is their dedication. Everyone so far has been passionate, sincere and forthright about his or her beliefs and opinions.
Then there’s the fact that while national politicians often become quite wealthy over the course of a decade or two in D.C., there isn’t much besides either aggravation or the satisfaction of a job well done for these local candidates.
With the exception of county commissioners, whose pay is equivalent to a pretty good full-time professional job, there isn’t much money out there for local councils and boards.
Vail Town Council members earn a few hundred dollars a month for their service, which, given the hours they spend on the job, works out to an hourly wage of … well, not much, really. School board members aren’t paid at all.
Even for those who run with a clear-cut agenda, that tends to mean those who seek public office in our communities are doing so out of sincere belief they’re doing the right thing.
We can criticize decisions or policies of people who hold elected office in our communities. Sincerity doesn’t always equate to intelligence or good sense. But the people who seek local office are, for the most part, good people who want to serve.
That’s worth our respect, no matter what so many people in Denver or D.C. are up to.