This election year will bring changes to our county

Published 5:25 pm Friday, February 19, 2016

While it may be a bit of cliché to say that this upcoming election year is vitally important, both nationally and locally, it is—well, vitally important.

As with any election year, changes in leadership will invariably come as some incumbents will be defeated, other incumbents choose not to run, and voters make choices. There is no doubt that the May 24 election will result in lots of changes in our county.

Counting all the races, there will be 15 local offices on the ballot in May. Those offices include three board of education seats, three county commission seats, sheriff, coroner, clerk of Superior Court, Superior Court judge, district attorney, probate judge, state court judge, chief magistrate and tax commissioner.

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In addition, our two state representatives and our state senator seats will also be on the ballot. While many of our local elections will be decided during the primary vote on May 24, some races will move on to the November general election when we also will decide who resides in the White House for the next four years.

In the recent past, voter apathy and potential candidate apathy has been the biggest enemy to a vibrant and well-oiled government. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case in this particular election cycle.

In our office, we have lots of phone calls and visitors asking about the upcoming elections and the early announcements of candidates for some of these races have been very encouraging.

With still a couple of weeks before the official qualifying period, you have read announcement stories, including two in today’s edition of the newspaper, of Decatur County residents who have enough interest in our community that they want to be one of its leaders.

So far, three men have announced their intention to run for Decatur County Tax Commissioner. Mark Harrell and Ryan Shirley will challenge Incumbent Don Belcher for the office. There are indications that this race will be more crowded and more challengers will come forward.

Steve Brock and Doug Griffin have announced plans to run for County Commission District Two, left open when incumbent Butch Mosely decided not to run for reelection.

Russell Smith previously announced that he would not run for reelection in District Five of the County Commission. Greg Murray has indicated he intends to qualify for that open seat.

Local attorney David Kendrick has announced that he plans to run for the State Court judgeship, left vacant when George Floyd decided not to run.

These are only the candidates who have come to us and we have published stories announcing their intention to qualify. Obviously, there are many more candidates, incumbents and challengers, who will enter the various races.

I encourage both incumbents and challengers to contact us at The Post-Searchlight letting us know your intentions.

The importance of this election year is high and we intend to provide as detailed coverage and in-depth information, particularly on the local races, to our readership as possible. Look for a special election issue coming in the coming weeks, after qualifying is complete.

And, most importantly, if you aren’t registered to vote, please do so. It’s a privilege and your right, so please make it count.