Our Voice: Today is filing deadline; candidates be prepared

Do you think you could do a better job than some of our elected officials?

Well, then, today is your day.

Anyone interested in running for office has to file the election paperwork by 5 p.m. today.

Elected officials carry a huge responsibility -- to best serve the public's interest in their given positions.

Running for public office is a great way to show your commitment to your community -- whether you're elected or not.

For those inclined to incessantly criticize the way those in office do their jobs, it's a way to show you're willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Having an opponent in an election typically improves the campaign for both parties. Sometimes people run unopposed for several terms.

For those who do step up and seize the challenge, we salute you.

If you still are contemplating a run for office, or have already filed, do your potential constituents a favor and take a long look at how prepared you are for the office. Running for city council? Have you been to a city council meeting?

That may sound like a silly question but we've interviewed more than one candidate campaigning for city council, school board or a commissioner of something who has never attended the kind of meeting he or she is asking the public to elect him or her to lead.

Do your homework. Put in the prep time to look at the inner workings of the entity you want to represent.

Diving into a city's budget, for example, is a daunting task, but one that a good council candidate should undertake. More often than not, candidates are critical of how a city is spending taxpayer money. But often they haven't taken a look at the actual numbers.

For those with good intentions who haven't done the legwork to learn about the potential new position as an elected official, we suggest you wait until the next election. Spend the interim getting to know the job and the details.

The willingness to serve the public is the utmost example of commitment and caring for your community. People who rise to it deserve our respect and gratitude.

Do your community a favor: Be prepared to do the job -- and do it well -- if you're elected.