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Editor: In response to the Sun Gazette’s recent editorial [“Hey, Arlington Candidates, Show Us the Money”], all I can say is, wow.
What an indictment of our so-called democracy when a candidate for local office MUST raise at least $100,000 or be politically well-connected in order to “be taken seriously.”
If this is the bar, then only a handful of Arlingtonians could ever even consider running for local office – just those who are independently wealthy and/or party animals. How sad and shameful is that?
Are we doomed to see the same few candidates who automatically cruise to victory without even token opposition? I hope not.
Opposition candidates – which in Arlington typically means independent candidates with no party affiliation and little access to mucho moolaah – serve an important function. They force those same party stalwarts to answer inconvenient questions in public forums and to defend what I would consider indefensible records of putting special interests ahead of the public’s interests.
Winning isn’t everything. Sure, it would be terrific to have new County Board members in office with fresh ideas and a stronger commitment to their oversight and fiduciary responsibilities. But under one-party rule, I am under no illusions. It’s an uphill battle to launch a campaign of any kind.
The press could help level the playing field by recognizing alternative candidates and giving them a much-needed opportunity to explain what they can offer voters.
There are many bright, knowledgeable, capable, civically active people who aren’t rich or politically well-connected who would make very credible and responsible County Board members. They populate our commissions, serve as volunteers to a host of civic organizations and leverage important skills honed at their day jobs.
It’s a real shame that we cannot do more to encourage these folks to run for public office. Arlington would be better served.
Suzanne Smith Sundburg, Arlington