The essential labor of politics and governance has become so toxic that it is both taboo to even mention in polite company, and is the swiftest way to divide communities into parts unequal to their whole potential.

By allowing division to define our politics, we can see the arena only as a battlefield. Governance is not an act of war. Participation in government is a civic duty.

For most that means, at minimum, exercising the right to vote. But for some, civic duty is a calling that cannot be repressed or ignored. Those are the ones you should want to represent you.

In fact, these people already represent you. When the community of Albany turns out to celebrate or volunteer, you will often see Jerred Taylor, candidate for District 15, and Stephanie Newton, candidate for Linn County commissioner.

I first met Jerred when he showed up to volunteer at one of the park restoration events I host each month. For the last seven months, notifications about Jerred's volunteering and community involvement have been as common on my Facebook feed as cat memes.

I met Stephanie Newton shortly after, and have been equally impressed by her energy and conviction. A regular at the Linn County Board of Commissioners meetings, Stephanie has not waited for the election to create change. One of Her signature issues is improving government transparency. She identified an area — the lack of publicly accessible minutes and agendas from the Linn commissioner meetings — and brought attention to it. The minutes and agendas have been available since July.

Jerred and Stephanie are not waiting for the election. They are already public servants. This November let's do our civic duty and empower them to do much more with the incredible energy they already contribute.

Aubrey Cloud

Albany (Oct. 9)


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