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Editorial: Don’t forget about local political races

In recent months, much of the political  hot air that usually floats about has been consumed by discussions of the presidential race and, to a lesser extent, North Carolina’s gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races. Those, however, are only some of the important positions that will be on ballots in November.

Ballots in November are, without a doubt, long. There are more than 25 political races on ballots for Rowan County residents — from president of the United States to soil and water conservation district supervisor.

If you’re tired by the time you finish with the gubernatorial race, you’ve still got many more races to go. Down-ballot races, however, are important. Each position carries a unique set of responsibilities that may have an affect on your life.

In Rowan, the most hotly contested local races are for the Rowan-Salisbury School Board, where at least two people are vying for every open spot. In more than one case, there are three people vying for an open spot.

The school board can have a direct affect on the quality of local, public education and deserves an informed vote.

So far, there have been three opportunities to hear school board candidates during a forum event, and there will be more. If you can’t make it to a forum, however, the Rowan County Board of Elections can provide a phone number for each candidate. In fact, with the exception of some candidates running for higher offices, the candidate list provided by the Board of Elections includes a phone number and address for each person.

The county commissioners race, where four people are running for two spots, hasn’t drawn as much attention as the school board. Commissioners, however, have an equally important role in determining the future of Rowan County. Commissioners determine funding levels for public schools and a number of other departments. The sheriff’s office and animal control are other examples. Commissioners can also pursue major infrastructure policy projects, such as a county-owned water and sewer system.

So, as you’re doing research for the presidential and other top-level political races, don’t forget about the local races. They are further down the ballot, or even on the back page, but are equally, or more, important in our lives.

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