Here’s to hoping you seek public office

Not happy with the way things are on Kauai?

Don’t like the direction of the island?

Upset with county council decisions?

Or maybe you just believe there’s a better way to operate and you could make a difference, set the course right.

Well, guess what? You have your chance to do something about it instead of just complaining or pondering or debating with your friends by tossing your hat into the ring for county council. All seven seats, with two-year terms, are up for election. The general election is this November.

Now, before you get too fired up and decide to rush out and vow to become one of Kauai’s government leaders and create a whole new and better world, you should know a few things.

Let’s start with getting elected, it isn’t easy. Chances are you won’t win. Lots of work and campaigning and you could still only receive a few votes. Running for public office is one of the toughest things you’ll ever do. You’ll need to campaign, attend public forums, prepare political speeches and be ready to answer questions on everything ranging from property taxes to how fix the roads without raising taxes to where to put the next landfill.

As well, you’ll be facing a field of established incumbents. They will be difficult to beat, as they already have a loyal following and the name recognition, which goes a long way on Kauai. You’ll have to work even harder than they will to get folks to vote for you.

People will complain about you. No matter what decision you make on any issue, someone is going to be upset. As a public official, you will be subject to criticism day and night, regardless of whether it’s deserved. So, be sure to develop a thick skin and be sure to be ready to back up your viewpoint and be ready to have people on the council disagree with you.

And know that you will be responsible for pretty much everything that happens on Kauai. Barking dogs. Kapaa traffic. Pesticides. Trash. Recycling. Taxes. Beaches. Septic tanks. Shearwaters. Rescues. So brush up on both laws and public opinion. Have a strong back.

Being a public official is likely not as glamorous as you might imagine. But it is critical in determining the present and future direction of Kauai.

If, after all that, you would still like to run for county council, here’s what you do.

Visit the county and pick up your nomination papers. Those interested must fill out an application for a nomination paper and obtain the 15 minimum required amount of signatures.

For the signatures to be valid, it must come from those who live and are registered to vote in the district where you’re seeking office.

You must also pay a fee when filing papers. For council, it’s $250. Then, you file your papers.

After all that, we hope you step up and seek public office. People who believe they can make a difference, who believe they can lead their government to do things better, are the ones who get things done. And that’s what we need.

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