Just 179 days after the last election, we have another one.
Due to the pandemic, last year’s municipal elections were postponed from May to November.
Depending on how you look at it, incumbents who won as expected either have an unusually long first term or a shorter second term.
They certainly benefited from the turnout in a presidential election.
On May 1, the residents of Abilene will vote for seats 1 and 2 on the city council.
Outgoing board member Shane Price confronts Stephen Hunt as Place 2, open with Jack Rentz’s imminent exit after a tenure, is a battle between Lynn Beard and Garrett Hubbard
There probably won’t be a lot of voter turnout, especially since Saturday is an extremely busy day in Abilene. And it will be busy in between.
It was a quiet election. Still, this remains important as there will be so much for the board to do over the next three years.
We are emerging from a health crisis that has slowed down our economic dynamics.
We are a long way from starting construction of a downtown hotel.
And as if fixing our streets wasn’t enough of a challenge, we are now considering a potentially expensive plan to maintain electricity in severe weather.
It’s a good bet that a bond election is coming. The city could use another fire station and an improved emergency operations center. But how to pay for it?
In front of us there are four good candidates, all with the general interest of the city in mind, rather than a single issue that some previous candidates have focused on. A big difference seems to be the age. Price and Beard are twice the age of their opponents, Hubbard and Hunt.
In the last election, there was a call to add younger voices to the board. Only the election of Travis Craver was a step in this direction.
In our opinion, this election seems clear, which perhaps adds to its tranquility.
Price for 12 years was seen as a thoughtful voice and, during the recent turmoil on the board, calming. It’s an anchor. We see the need to keep it on board the ship and not throw it overboard, anchoring a board that has sailed milder seas in recent years.
It is our choice for place 1.
As for Place 2, Beard has more name recognition and, it seems, more money behind his campaign. It’s a safe bet that Beard’s candidacy was carefully planned as a seamless transition from Rentz.
He has done his homework and his past experience working for the city with the Abilene Police Department gives him an understanding of how things really work.
Beard is a former Reporter-News Editorial Board member, chosen because he provided an insightful perspective on Abilene.
It is our choice for the place 2.
The four candidates did not differ in many ways, although age, deeper dives in budgeting and accountability were mentioned by Hunt and Hubbard. Hubbard also pioneered single-member districts as a better way to expand representation.
Our board, made up of two black members and a woman, is quite diverse. The representation of young people and Hispanics remains absent.
We encourage voters to read our election stories to better distinguish between candidates. All four candidates were ambitious for unpredictable months as we faced a pandemic. We appreciate them being part of the process and thinking about what to expect.
After studying, go vote. Early voting begins Monday.
This election should attract tens of thousands of voters, not thousands, because this is our city, and they will be our leaders.