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Guest column: Do your homework before you vote | Opinion

County and state election returns will be upon us soon.

Campaign signs will appear at every corner, fence line, yard and beyond. We will be bombarded with media advertisements of all kinds.

The silly season, as I call it, is about to begin.

Although there are several races this year for various offices, I want to comment on our county commissioner races.

As I retire at the end of this year, I have had the privilege and honor of representing all citizens of Yakima County.

The recent settlement of lawsuits and the reconfiguration of districts was a contributing factor, but not the primary reason. As voters adjust to the changes, I hope everyone will focus on the change, the candidates (deposit is May 16-20), and make well-researched and informed decisions when they will vote.

The position of commissioner is not a part-time job. In fact, it’s more than full-time many times.

When I took office in January 2017, the day-to-day was pretty much routine, day-to-day county operational issues were the norm. I have been assigned to over 16 committees, as have the other two commissioners, to serve, mostly as an ex officio member, representing the county. We Commissioners met weekly to report back to the others on our activities of the previous week. This aspect picked up with our Monday and Friday morning study sessions.

Then everything changed.

Keeping the county running in the emergency became my overall goal. I woke up every morning wondering what was wrong that day. Thanks to great teamwork from everyone across the county, we were able to handle the day-to-day without laying anyone off except for the Department of Corrections downsizing due to the loss of contracts with other jurisdictions that have canceled their prisoner contract with us due to COVID-19.

It has been a very difficult time, as the average turnover of commissioners is about one to two each election cycle statewide. To date, I have served with six.

It is very important that new commissioners and former commissioners focus 100% on their elected positions and that voters take the time to learn about each candidate.

Of all the functions, management of the county budget is by far the most important. My concern — my fear — is that the county will see a downturn in the economy to the point that it will affect the number of jobs the county can support. However, I hope that I am wrong on this point.

Voters: Please find out as much as you can about the candidates, new and old, and the new constituency layout before you vote.

Thank you.

Ron Anderson has served as Yakima County District 2 Commissioner since January 2017.

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