The Mountain Home News editorial board found something good to say about all four of the candidates seeking the two open positions on the city council, but by slim majorities voted to urge the election of Rich Sykes and Jimmy Schipani.
The voters really can't go wrong in this election. The board believes any of the four can do a competent job if elected, which was why the vote was so fragmented with no one achieving a consensus by the board. A majority was hard to come by, but after the board's debate on the merits of each candidate, Sykes and Schipani came out on top.
Councilman Russ Anderson, for example, the only incumbent in the race, was praised for always being well-prepared for each council meeting and having the backbone to stand up for what he believes.
Newcomer Tim Bondy was cited for his lengthy knowledge and interest in the political process and his thoughtful decision-making skills.
But the majority of the board decided it was time for new blood and younger faces on the city council.
Schipani, a banker, was praised for his knowledge of the community and his intellect. Board members felt his relative youth would be beneficial in providing a voice for the new wave of young leaders in the community.
Sykes, an insurance agent, also was cited for his enthusiasm for and extensive knowledge of the community. In particular, his involvement in a wide variety of community organizations means that a large circle of people will have access to him and that he will be exposed to wide-ranging input from many different aspects and demographic groups of the city.
Mayor Tom Rist has no opposition in seeking his second term of office, and considering the outstanding job he's done over the last four years there's probably a good reason that no one came forward to challenge him.
The Mountain Home city council elections will be held Nov. 8. Polling locations are the same as those used during the general elections (no longer at just the library). Absentee balloting is open now.
Whatever candidate you support, make sure you go vote. The next four years could see a turnaround in the economic fortunes of the city, and as a result, we need the best people possible on the council when we start growing again.