Now is the time to act, if the thought has ever crossed your mind to run for office.
The success and credibility of public agencies -- and by extension, the communities they serve -- depend on well-informed and well-intentioned citizens holding their elected positions.
That's especially true at the local government level here in the Tri-Valley, where elected leaders make important decisions every meeting that have real, tangible impacts on our residents' lives.
But oftentimes these local offices have few candidates on the ballot, or in some cases only the same number of candidates as available seats or an incumbent goes unchallenged.
As we've said before this time of year, contested elections are invaluable. They enhance the public discourse around vital local issues and better engage and educate the electorate.
If you're a civic-minded resident who wants to give back to your community, we urge you to seriously consider taking the plunge this fall. Put your name on the ballot. And then do your research, share your perspectives and engage the public before Nov. 3.
The best candidates share similar attributes: selflessness, knowledgeable, compassion, open-mindedness and a sincere desire to improve their community. They're in it for the right reasons; they seek the truth; they don't fear making tough decisions; and they listen to all stakeholders.
The Tri-Valley has a wealth of local elected offices on the ballot this fall, depending on where you live.
Multiple candidates are especially important in contests where an incumbent isn't running or is ineligible due to term limits.
All four directly elected mayor positions in the Tri-Valley will be fully up for grabs with the current mayors termed out. There are also cases of open seats like Pleasanton Unified School District, where Trustee Valerie Arkin is running for City Council instead of re-election to PUSD, or Livermore City Council where Councilman Bob Coomber isn't running for health reasons.
Of course, there are contested seats open to incumbents and challengers for city or school positions in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon and Danville as well.
But it's not just the high-profile local offices on the ballot; special districts like Dublin San Ramon Services District, Livermore Area Recreation and Park District, Diablo Community Service District and others also need informed and motivated candidates to come forward.
Act quickly though, because the deadline fast approaches.
The candidacy nomination period for city, school and special district elections runs until 5 p.m. Aug. 7. The deadline will be extended by five days, to Aug. 12, for challengers if an eligible incumbent chooses not to run.
In general, the only requirements are that a candidate must be a registered voter, at least 18 years of age and live within the geographic boundaries encompassing the open seat.
Contact the individual local agency for information on candidacy paperwork, or visit www.acvote.org for general election information.
We hope to see a diverse range of candidates for all local elections this fall.
We also look forward to seeing how this campaign season will play out -- knowing full well it will be unlike any other in recent memory due to the COVID-19 crisis and shelter-in-place orders.
And for all adults across the board, make sure you're registered to vote for the Nov. 3 election. If you're uncomfortable with the prospect of voting in-person amid the pandemic, sign up for a vote-by-mail ballot.
Then learn about all of the candidates and ballot measures, and when the time comes (and we can't stress this enough!), actually vote on or before Election Day.