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Within the context of recent off-year elections, the 2021 election already qualifies as encouraging.

The closure of the filing period on Friday saw multiple seats being contested by two or three candidates.

There are still too many seats that drew only one candidate, but also there are many races across the range of open offices.

Highlights include:

• Five primary races — seats that drew three candidates, in which the top two vote recipients advance.

• Seventeen races that drew two candidates.

• Three of the three seats on the Ellensburg City Council up for election featuring at least two candidates

• Two of the three seats on the Ellensburg School Board up for election featuring at least two candidates

• Two of four Kittitas City Council seats and Kittitas mayor featuring at least two candidates

• Three of four Roslyn City Council seats up for election featuring at least two candidates

• Two of four Thorp School Board seats up for election featuring at least two candidates

The range of seats from schools boards to city councils to fire and water districts indicates a general interest in local issues, which is an extremely healthy sign.

Sometimes there is a single issue that sparks a spike in interest but that tends to not be sustainable. Having people interested in all the different levels of local government bodes well for our communities. Our systems of local government require attention and interest to function properly.

We are coming off a hyper-politicized, divisive general election cycle. It is possible that may have sparked interest in governance, but all these seats are non-partisan. People running have political views, but the purpose of a city council, school board or any of the districts is to meet community needs. We want and need the services provided by schools, the cities and the districts. These elected bodies have a critical role in seeing these needs are met as efficiently and effectively as possible. It is not that these positions never serve as a political launching pad, but it does not happen that often in Kittitas County.

There was controversy this past year over the Ellensburg City Council’s quickly ditched idea to paint a Black Lives Matter mural on a street. Local school districts have had to make some fairly dramatic changes due to COVID-19 restrictions. There was no shortage of decisions this year that may have generated interest.

What’s great is all the candidates now get to explain their views and why there are running. Voters will have differing opinions, views and ideas to consider.

Kudos to all who stepped up and decided to seek office. We are looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

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