A strong crop of candidates

The Enterprise is not endorsing candidates for Tuesday’s election, but we feel the need to comment on the overall caliber of local government candidates this year. We think it’s very strong.

The Franklin County legislature District 7 race is a good example. Resident of the towns of Harrietstown and Franklin are fortunate to have two candidates as qualified as Cliff Donaldson and Lindy Ellis. Both are great at making the rounds to hear what local residents need and want, and they both have strong records of taking action on those requests and advocating for the south end of the county. Both are smart and caring and can work with all kinds of people. While Donaldson has more experience relevant to the job, Ellis has more recent experience and connections. We believe either would do a great job.

Then there is North Elba, the most populous town in both Essex County and the Tri-Lakes area, and hub of the region’s tourism economy. Given Essex County’s weighted voting system, North Elba’s supervisor has the most voting power on the county board. Yet its elections have not seen a particularly high number of candidates in recent years.

This year, however, it is very competitive. Four people are running for supervisor and six for two seats on the town council. Longtime Supervisor Roby Politi is stepping down, and local people have reached a breaking point with the proliferation of short-term rental, shortage of affordable housing and diminution of the sense of community among Lake Placid’s year-round residents.

Several candidates entered this race with a sense of mission, not just to help lead their town but to lead it through its current difficulties. It says a lot that so many citizens step up at a critical time.

Overall we’re seeing a bit stronger engagement than usual this local election. That’s heartening. We hope to see higher voter turnout as well.

There are still some town and village races that are uncontested, which is not ideal, but there are not as many as we have seen some years.

Also this election season, we have seen a large number of letters to the editor supporting various candidates, as well as a large number of political advertisements. People are clearly looking to this newspaper for information about voting, and therefore that is where candidates want their messages posted.

That means our staff has to work hard and fairly to keep local voters informed. We take that mission seriously.

A couple of housekeeping items: The deadline has passed to submit letters or ads for publication before Election Day, Tuesday. We will not run election-related letters or ads on Election Day itself. And after polls close at 9 p.m. Tuesday, our news staff will be working to get results of each local race onto our website and into Wednesday morning’s paper.

The process of the people choosing local leaders is critically important, almost sacred. Please take part in it. Please inform yourself about your local race: You can find sample ballots in the Voter Guide we published in Thursday’s paper, and stories on each contested race on the Enterprise website.

And after you have availed yourself of that, please vote. It really does make a difference.