Time to start thinking about running in next November’s election

Does Mayor John Harwood plan to run again in next fall's municipal elections?

Does Mayor John Harwood plan to run again in next fall’s municipal elections?

Well, take a look at this issue’s page one. Harwood put on a Grinch hat during last week’s town council meeting – an invitation to a photo opp if ever there was one.

His message was that there needs to be some belt-tightening at District of Clearwater and that he’s the person to do it.

Two weeks before that Harwood told council that he estimated that incorporation had resulted in nearly $50 million in economic development benefits to the community.

While one might quibble that at least some of the economic development he mentioned would have happened with or without incorporation, the underlying message was clear – municipal status has been good for Clearwater – and who has been mayor since incorporation?

Yes, Mayor Harwood is giving every indication that he plans to run next November, health permitting.

What about the rest of council?

Clearwater has been fortunate in having two strong councils since incorporation. It has been unfortunate in that only one of the first councillors, Ken Kjenstad, joined John Harwood on the second council.

That transition meant that the second council, although made up of extremely capable people, has been struggling with its inexperience until now.

That inexperience showed at the most recent town council meeting, even though all the councillors now have more than two years on the job. Topic of discussion was the council’s committee structure. It was clear that most were dissatisfied with what they have now – they often fill an agenda simply because they have a committee meeting scheduled, rather than having a meeting because there is something important to put on the agenda – but the councillors simply did not know enough to be able to propose something better.

We hope that, in contrast to our first council, all or most of Clearwater’s second council will seek election to the third. We hope that some members of the first town council, now that they’ve had a bit of time to reflect on their experiences, will choose to seek a second term. And, while we value experience, we also value fresh perspectives, and so we also hope that at least a few new faces will seek election next fall.

Running for public office can be stressful. If you win, there’s a lot of work and not much money (at least at the local level).


November seems a long ways away but, if a seasoned politician like John Harwood is already laying the foundations of his election campaign, it can’t be too soon to start thinking about whether you want to run as well.