With the passing of Friday’s deadline for candidates to file to run in municipal elections, it appears two of three Mount Airy elected officials will face no opposition in their re-election bids.
Mayor Deborah Cochran and Commissioner Jon Cawley have no opposition in the election, unless someone mounts a write-in campaign. Steve Yokeley, representing the city’s South Ward, faces two candidates in an October primary — Jerry A. Byrd and Jimmy D. Mitchell Jr. have both filed to run for the seat.
Generally, we believe it is regrettable to see elected government seats decided in elections that are run with a single candidate. We always feel the public is better-served when there are clear choices for voters.
At the same time, the lack of candidates stepping forward very well may be city residents’ way of saying they are pleased with the job the mayor and commissioners have done. While we do not offer candidate endorsements, and this should not be taken as such, we have found the mayor and this board to generally be doing what we consider a strong job. All of those serving on the board, as far as we have seen, are open and transparent with their governance, have been honest and accessible to the media and public, and have managed to even cut the city’s tax rate while maintaining services.
These board members also have worked hard to support local business, as well as the arts and other segments of our local culture, and have been successful in working with economic development officials to bring new jobs to the city.
Oftentimes, it’s easy to say a lack of a candidates is citizen apathy, and that is the case in many instances. But it’s also important to recognize that in some cases, and this might be one, city residents are pleased with the job being done by those on the board and by-and-large don’t see the need to try to change the make-up of the board.