Monday, July 6, marked the opening day of filing for the 2015 municipal elections in Bladen County, a day, every two years, when we eagerly anticipate who will seek re-election to town boards and mayoral seats and the newcomers who just might toss their hat into the political arena.
It’s an exciting time locally, but it has also become a somewhat anxious two weeks (filing ends on Friday, July 17) as well, given the dwindling number of incumbents and newcomers expressing an interest in public service, particularly in Sampson’s smaller municipalities.
Not too long ago, we can recall there being no immediate takers for the Tar Heel mayoral spot — or its council seats, as well. Eventually the seats were filled, but it left many holding their breath and wondering what exactly would happen to the small Bladen town if no leader emerged.
There have been other near misses with candidate slates either empty or short over the last decade, a sad trend we hope will not continue this year.
There are numerous elected seats on town boards across Bladen County whose terms are about to end, including mayoral posts. That includes the mayoral seat held by long-time Elizabethtown leader Sylvia Campbell, Dublin Mayor Horace Wyatt’s seat and White Lake Mayor Goldston Womble’s seat.
It is our hope that there will be those who want an opportunity to serve their towns and will step out to accept the responsibility of public service, whether the position they seek is one of mayor or board member. There is a need for a good slate of candidates so residents can select the best from among all those who have a desire to serve.
While the hours can be long and the jobs thankless, there is much to gain from serving on local town boards, namely the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a mark on your community, helping it to grow and prosper.
Our incumbent leaders have done stellar jobs throughout Bladen’s municipalities, keeping the ships righted, taxes as low as possible and progress as steady as the economy would allow. We’ve seen great vision and a steady hand in many places, and we hope leaders whose terms expire this year will consider another term, just as we hope others will toss their hat in the ring, giving voters true choices.
What we don’t want to see is an empty slate come Friday in any of the towns where terms are expiring.
That’s why today we encourage those who believe in public service and understand the need to give back to the communities which have given them so much to seriously consider taking the bold steps necessary to seek another term or their first crack at local government.
The experience, we are certain, will be thrilling and sometimes aggravating, rewarding and sometimes disappointing but always altruistic.
We, here at the Bladen Journal, will keep residents updated on who is filing through our website and print edition, allowing you to see the progress we hope is being made in filling the slate of candidates needed to keep each of our municipalities moving forward.