OUR VIEW: Keep partisan politics out of local races

Published 10:49 am Thursday, February 21, 2019

No one asks whether the person who picks up their garbage each week is a Republican or a Democrat.

No one asks if the person in charge of the water treatment plants voted for President Trump.

No one cares if the person driving the fire truck to their burning home is a fiscal conservative or a tax and spend liberal or if the police officer patrolling their neighborhood in the dead of night is a long-time listener to Rush Limbaugh or believes in the ideas of the Green New Deal.

In the same way, it should not matter if Albemarle’s city council members are Republicans or Democrats.

And taking it one step further, it should also not matter if our county commissioners are Republicans or Democrats. It should also certainly not matter if our Sheriff is a Republican or a Democrat.

All local elections should be non-partisan.

Local issues are not political issues. At the local level, it is more important to have a cohesive board willing to work together for the good of the citizens than a partisan board filled with party-leader wannabes looking to make a name for themselves before taking the next step up the political ladder.

The only thought that gives us pause from Monday night’s public hearing about this issue, is the claim from some in the African-American community that a change to non-partisan elections would negatively affect the potential for racial diversity on the council.

Representation from the African-American community is critical. Our hope is that a change from partisan to non-partisan elections will encourage a more diverse candidate pool not attached to the Democrat or Republican parties and increase diversity through the election of minority candidates in the at-large districts.

Everyone always decries Washington politics. Yet by allowing partisan elections in local government, we do nothing but spread the cancer of partisan politics that infects our national and state governments to a local level where it is not needed and should not be welcomed.