Nomination forms can now be picked up for October's civic election, and that should boost speculation on who is running for municipal councils and school boards.
In the case of Estevan City Council, we know that long-time City Councillor Roy Ludwig will finally be vying for the mayor's post after serving as a councillor for 18 years. Ludwig has been viewed by many as the most logical choice, among Council members, to replace Gary St. Onge as Estevan's mayor.
St. Onge, of course, is retiring from municipal politics.
The unknown is whether anybody will oppose Ludwig. It would be nice to have a mayoral election for the first time since a by-election in 2005. The 2006 and 2009 elections weren't as much fun when St. Onge was winning by acclamation.
Ludwig would be tough to beat, since he has taken an active role on many high-profile committees, and he has strong support from all demographics. But that doesn't mean “Roy for Mayor” would be unbeatable on election day.
There will almost certainly be a race for councillor. Three incumbents – Dennis Moore, Chris Istace and Rodney Beatty – have already declared their intentions to seek a second term. It's expected veteran councillors Brian Johnson and Lynn Chipley will also run again. A few other names have been tossed around the rumour mill.
There might not be a dozen candidates for councillor (a number surpassed in 2000 and 2003), but there should be more interest for councillor than in 2009, when eight nomination papers were submitted.
A mayoral election, and 10-12 candidates for councillor, would both be good news for Estevan. It's a sign that people aren't apathetic towards council and the direction of their city.
If you believe that you have something to contribute to the short-term and long-term direction and future of your community, then perhaps it's time to consider running for council. Or the school board. If you're one of those people who frequently gripes and complains about everything, then perhaps it's time to seek public office, so that you can understand how difficult the job really is, and so that you can prove to yourself, and everybody else, that perhaps you could do a better job.
Public office, regardless of whether it's municipal council or the school board, can be rewarding. It's more than just long meetings and phone calls from angry ratepayers, for a small stipend. It's hard work, but anybody on council will vouch for the fact that they're making a difference.
Nobody benefits when the public is apathetic towards Council. People need to believe they can make a difference in their community.
When there are people willing to make a difference, and say “no” to apathy, our communities are the victors.