Ours is a representative government. In a perfect world, one’s government reflects the composition and interests of the people it represents.

The Allegany County Board of Elections reports that as of March 2017 there are 25,300 registered voters here. Of these, 12,299 (49%) are men and 13,001 (51%) are women.

The data also show that 12,626 (50%) are registered Republican and 5,968 (24%) registered Democrat. Of those remaining, 7% are in Conservative or Independence parties and 19% are in Green, Working Families, Libertarian, Reform and Women’s Equality parties, or they are unaffiliated.

Think about your own community. Is there an approximate 50-50 split of men and women on the town or village board? The school board? At the county level, are the offices occupied in a way that represents the 50-50 split between registered Republicans and “all other parties combined”? Are half our county legislators women? Women and non-Republicans are holding fewer offices than our demographic data would suggest. Is this a problem? Not necessarily. But local government would be more ideal — more “representative” — if it most accurately reflected the population it serves.

That’s where YOU come in!

There are multiple seats up for grabs in November in every town (and two villages) in the county. From Highway Superintendent to Tax Collector, to Justice, Town Clerk, Supervisor, Councilman, Trustee, and Assessor. None of these offices “require” previous experience, although having some related experience would make for a more electable candidate.

To be elected, though, you must do one thing: you must decide to run. You must decide to step up your game and contribute to your community at a new level.

First you make a commitment to yourself. You speak with Rick or Mike, Barb, or Marcy at the Board of Elections. You get signatures on a petition. You gather friends to knock on some doors. You talk with and listen to your neighbors. None of this seems so hard, does it? In the end, you have a seat at the table when good and important decisions are being made. Now there’s a gratifying feeling. There’s a reward.

This November there are 166 seats up for grabs. Picture yourself in one of them, and make it happen.

Karen Ash

Angelica