Next Tuesday, Nov. 6, citizens have the opportunity to express themselves via one of the hallowed traditions of our democracy -- the voting booth.
While it's true that many candidates are running unopposed -- including the mayor of Bingen, Brian Prigel; Klickitat County Sheriff, Chris Mace; and Klickitat County Assessor, Van Vandenberg -- nevertheless a large turnout of those registered to vote is vital. With our nation under attack recently from foreign-based terrorists, voting is one superb way to show support for our values and make a statement about our belief in the American system.
Our military people are currently risking their lives to battle terrorists in Afghanistan, and on Sept. 11, many American firefighters, police, and emergency medical personnel made the ultimate sacrifice while trying to help others. Turning out to vote is one proud way to honor all of these men and women, and demonstrate that our people will prevail over those who want to destroy us.
That's the big picture. On a local scale, there are several political offices at stake that will serve to determine the course of our future here in the Columbia River Gorge.
For example, a seat on the three-member Port of Klickitat Board of Commissioners will be on the ballot. The slot, a six-year term, is being contested by Rodger Ford and Marc Harvey. Both men appear to be well-qualified and thoughtful candidates. However, the one who wins will naturally bring a somewhat different focus to the position than his opponent would have. At the same time, it would be very helpful, for whoever wins, to have a solid base of public support behind him. A poor turnout would serve to deny either candidate that solid mandate from the voters.
In White Salmon, one of the five seats on the City Council is up for grabs. Susan Gookin and Dennis Fisher are competing for a four-year term in the position being vacated by outgoing council member Rolando Mendez. Every voice on the City Council is important, and often a strong advocate for a given position can sway the rest of the council members. So this too is an important election for those in the White Salmon precincts.
Elsewhere, many precincts are holding elections for school board and fire district positions. All of these offices play a vital role in the web of our democracy, and the voters should choose carefully who they want to serve.
On Nov. 6, the polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please make sure you take the time to vote.