And it is at this level that political barriers tend to break down. You have to do some hunting in the endorsements to figure out if you're dealing with Dem or a Rep. And really, that is not as important at this point because the people involved tend to represent their communities beyond just political faction. These are positions where they have the meetings, hold the votes, and drive fifteen minutes to get home for a late supper. They are in contact with their constituents on a daily basis, and it reflects in their approach and attitude.
This is also where people get their start politically, where they are running for elections and getting into the tedious parts of government where to meet and you listen. And listen some more. So this is the minor leagues, but truly where people get tested.
Not everyone is a pro - For the City Council position, only one of the candidates has a working web site up. One of the others lacks one mentioned the Voter's Guide, and a third has a site, which at the time of this writing, consists of a single image of the campaign logo. Seriously, we are in a technology-rich area - there are people available who can do this sort of thing (and I may have some leads - email me).
However, I really want to state that, based upon the write-up the Voters' Guide, my initial approach to all of these candidates is that they are sane. I know this sounds like a gag, but it's not - just look at some of the candidates elsewhere. There is not a lot of warning signs, not that tell-tale that, entrusted with the vote, they will go haring off in some strange direction. And actually, that makes me feel pretty good.
So, Kent City Council. Barbara Phillips has previous experience with the Land Use and Planning Board. Bailey Stober worked previously on the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs, and has a host of endorsements (he's also the one with functioning web site). Ken Sharp is a local businessman and former president of the Chamber of Commerce. All want to see Kent grow as a safe and prosperous community, Forced into a corner, I would go for Mr. Stober, and say that Ms. Phillips would
Similarly, the school board. Bruce Elliot, Carmen Goers, and Maya Vengadasalam all present a personal stake in education. None of them are professional pols. All of them want to give the kids a good education. And while I am happy to see three solid candidates, I'm not going to tell you which is best - take a look at their own write-ups. There are no really bad choices.
And that's kind of a good thing.