An open letter to voters, candidates Newspaper, voters ready to hear from filers

Managing Editor

You may be tiring of presidential campaigning, but it has barely begun.

The election season will turn up another several notches on Tuesday when filings open for a whole slate of offices that will be on the ballot this November.

That includes the offices in your backyard that make decisions about the roads in your front yard, the schools your children attend down the street and that project being considered across town.

This is where collective ears of community newspapers perk up and their editors begin to receive a flurry of campaign announcements. It’s an exciting but hectic time.

Primaries will be held on Aug. 9, and for those races that don’t deal with primaries, the filing period will be from Aug. 2-16.

This year the Star News will lean on candidates a bit more to make sure they are furnishing the things we need and less of what we don’t need.

We are going to be encouraging candidates to get their announcements in as soon as possible because we would like to inform our readers of who wants to represent them in the coming years on issues that matter most to Elk Riverites as well as those living in Otsego  and  the Zimmerman area.

We’ve heard rumblings of a few surprises as the local and statewide filing period nears, but incumbents and candidates have been slow to go public with their intentions.

We know the Elk River Area School Board will have at least one new member with the resignation earlier this year. There will be a vote during the primaries to fill her seat that still has more than two years left. It’s the top half of the district that encompasses Ward 4 of Elk River in Sherburne County, the city of Ramsey in Anoka County, the city of Dayton in Wright and Hennepin counties, the city of Rogers in Hennepin County and the cities of Otsego, Albertville and St. Michael in Wright County.

The other half of the district is also up for election in November as are two at-large seats. School Board Member Sue Farber stated at a meeting that she’s not planning to run. Fellow members Dan Hunt and Holly Thompson also have to decide whether to run for another term.

The Elk River Area School District did something new this year by hosting three meet-and-greet sessions with potential School Board candidates. The last is on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Westwood Elementary School. It’s open to anyone from across the district to inquire about what’s involved and on deck for future members of the board.

The Sherburne County Board of Commissioners will no doubt have candidates walking in Elk River and Zimmerman parades. Commissioner district 1 and 3 seats that represent Elk River are up, and Commissioner District 5 that represents Zimmerman is up, too.

Filings don’t open until Aug. 2 for Otsego Mayor and City Council and Zimmerman Mayor and City Council races.

Otsego’s mayoral post is up for election. So are a couple at-large council seats.

Zimmerman’s mayoral post is up every two years along with two at-large council seats.

These offices are the bread and butter of this community newspaper as we focus on local, local, local. Same with legislative races. We want to inform our readers on legislative candidates and what their election to office will mean locally.

Those of you in local office who are not running, let us know. Such announcements will generate interest in the position you will be leaving.

Candidates get to announce bids in paper

The starting point this year will be filings and campaign announcements delivered to the newspapers. Down the road there will be Q-and-A’s and candidate profiles in key races to talk about.

To those who will be candidates: We’re going to need several things from you to announce your candidacy. We’ll need biographical information (name, age, family, occupation, previous civic  and community involvement) and information on why you are running and/or key issues.

We also want a head shot of you. You can provide one, or if we have one on file, you can tell us to use that one.

These announcements are not marketing pieces. They should be short and submitted at the beginning of the campaign or at least within the first 30 days of filing.

We know you’re going to be busy, but be mindful of our deadlines. And once we get announcements out of the way, know that we at the newspaper will make distinctions between legitimate news and events staged purely for fundraisers or publicity. We want news on our news pages and we have a wonderful ad staff that can help you publicize your campaign in ways in which our news department can’t.

Certain campaigns will get additional attention through the exchange of press releases and candidate forums. Know that a newsworthy press release might prompt a phone call to a challenger.

To those organizations that put on forum and debates: Let us know so we can let our readers know. And know that sooner is better than later to give events a shot at coverage in the local press and allow voters to catch up on forums they miss on recorded platforms.

We want to service our readers with the details of your candidacy so they can formulate informed opinions. We look forward to hearing from you along the campaign trail. — Jim Boyle, editor