North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

By Beckye Randall
Talk of the Town 

Start small to do big things


This Friday is the deadline to throw your hat in the ring for elected office this November.

A number of federal, statewide and local positions will go to the voters this year. The primary is set for Aug. 5, with the general election held Nov. 4.

U.S. Representatives Suzan DelBene and Rick Larsen, from districts 1 and 2 respectively, are up for re-election, as are state representatives and senators from the 10th, 38th, 39th and 44th legislative districts, areas that affect north Snohomish County residents.

At the county level, voters will have a say (finally) in the office of County Executive, currently occupied by John Lovick. The timing of former executive Aaron Reardon’s resignation meant a vote for his replacement wouldn’t take place for eighteen months. Lovick was appointed to fill the position in June 2013, and presumably will campaign for a one-year term this November. The job will be on the ballot again for the full four-year term in 2015.

The positions of county sheriff (currently occupied by Ty Trenary) and prosecuting attorney (Mark Roe) are also up for election.

For Marysville and Arlington, city council and school board elections were held last year, but there are still many positions open for an entry-level politico – Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs).

PCOs are the building blocks of both political parties, the grassroots organizers that make things happen. These elected officials communicate with people in their precinct, decide party leadership and have a voice in determining party platforms through caucus participation.

PCOs are representatives for their precinct, which can be as small as a section of a neighborhood or as large as small city. Precincts usually contain 200 to 800 registered voters.

Precinct Committee Officer positions appear on primary ballots on even-numbered election years. Even if unopposed, a PCO candidate must receive at least ten percent of the number of votes cast for the candidate receiving the greatest number of votes in the precinct. If that seems daunting, note that ten percent of the voters in a precinct may be as few as 20 people.

Both political parties provide training for PCOs and opportunities to become as involved with the political process as they want. Serving as a PCO allows potential candidates for higher offices to “get their feet wet” at a manageable level, to learn how their party operates, to build a network of knowledgeable contacts, and to make a difference for their own neighborhood.


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