We’re a short seven weeks away from a new year, and many people may be wondering what they can do in the coming months to make their community a better place.
No doubt there are many ways we can all resolve to make a better world for everyone. We can treat others with kindness and take time to offer our time, talents and treasure to the many organizations working hard to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors. We can simply resolve to try and heal old wounds or to extend forgiveness to those who may have slighted us in the past.
Another way is to stand for office in a local election. Next year, Cumberland County will elect 18 county commissioners (that’s the entire county commission, two per civil district); five representatives to the board of education (Districts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9); sheriff; circuit court clerk; county clerk; register of deeds; and road superintendent.
The school board and commission seats are nonpartisan elections — meaning you do not have to declare a political party or run in a party’s primary. Cumberland County holds a primary election in May for the other county offices.
To hold public office in Tennessee, candidates must be at least 18 years old, citizens of the U.S. and residents of the state, county and district they want to represent. Some offices include specific minimum ages and minimum residency requirements, like resident of a county for at least one year.
While county employees may serve on the county commission, employees of the Cumberland County School System may not serve on the board of education.
The first step to running for office is to pick up nominating petitions from the county election office, located in the Milo Lemert Building at 2 S. Main St. across from the Cumberland County Courthouse. Nov. 17 is the first day potential candidates for the county primary can pick up nominating petitions. This election will be held May 1, 2018. Petitions must be returned by noon Feb. 15 to the county election office.
The last day you can register to vote in the May primary is April 2. Early voting in the county primary will begin April 11 and continue through April 26.
Candidates for county commission and school board can pick up nominating petitions beginning Jan. 5 for the Aug. 2 county general election. This is also the first day candidates for state or federal primaries — also held Aug. 2 — can pick up nominating petitions. These papers must be returned by the qualifying deadline of noon April 5, 2018.
The last day to register to vote in the August election is July 3. Early voting will be held July 13-28.
The city of Crossville will elect two councilmen and mayor in November. The qualifying deadline to return nominating petitions is Aug. 16 at noon.
The last day to register to vote in the November municipal election and state and federal general election is Oct. 9. Early voting will be held Oct. 17-Nov. 1.
Election day will be Nov. 6, 2018.
Serving in an elected office — especially at the local level — may seem like a thankless job. But the people of this community will appreciate those who step forward to serve their community and offer their talents and guidance through the next term.
Voters, do your part. Talk to candidates. Educate yourself on the issues facing our community and find out how they each propose to fix those problems.
And then go to the polls and cast your vote for the person you think will do the best job for our community.
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Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published periodically. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.