Valdosta Daily Times

January 20, 2014

To serve others

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — Running for office isn’t a decision to make, or take, lightly. Those that view it as a popularity contest diminish the seriousness of the position they are seeking. Those who use it to personally profit are simply despicable.

Some individuals run because they have one or two issues they think need to be corrected, not realizing how much comes with the job. And it doesn’t matter which elected office, from local contests to national ones, there is always much more to the position than individuals realize. Late night phone calls from constituents, lawsuits, life or death decisions — from judges to senators, being an elected official is not as much glamour as it is tedium. And frustration. And uncertainty. If you can’t stand being disliked by those who don’t know you, have never met you, or by those who dislike you for doing what you believe is the right thing, then elected office is not for you.

For those few brave individuals who seek office, who take the time to research the position so they know what they are getting into, and who are doing it for the right reasons, it is the ultimate way to serve others.

Understanding how difficult the decision is, how much effort is invested, and the seriousness of holding an elected office, it’s a shame that Georgia is down to the wire on setting its primary and other essential dates for the 2014 election.

It’s up to Gov. Nathan Deal now, as just last week the Senate and House voted to move the state’s primary date to May 20 from July 15. This would mean that all candidates will have to qualify the first week in March. Which gives those who are still on the fence just a few short weeks to make their decision.

The state lost a lawsuit alleging violations of the Uniform Overseas Voting Act, and the new dates are supposed to allow for more time for military ballots overseas. Hopefully the changes will help to keep our military members involved in their communities while deployed outside the U.S. But for many areas in the state, the new dates create issues that may be difficult to overcome.

While state and national offices never seem to have a lack of willing candidates, local communities aren’t always so fortunate. The more time someone has to consider  running for office, the better. With just a few weeks left, there may be viable candidates who simply won’t have the time necessary to put together a campaign and therefore won’t run.

It’s always difficult to find people who want to toss their hats in the political ring. Let’s hope the changing of the dates doesn’t make it insurmountable.