Editor’s note: Today’s editorial was written by Teresa Purcell. Editorial content from other publications and authors is provided to give readers a sampling of regional and national opinion and does not necessarily reflect positions endorsed by the Editorial Board of The Daily News.

Are you happy with the direction of our community? Does it feel like we are making great progress to create a thriving community with a bright future and shared opportunity and prosperity? Have our elected leaders articulated a clear vision for our future?

If you answered no to any of these questions, this November is your opportunity to do something about it. We get to determine the future of our community as active participants in our democracy, by running for office, and by voting in November.

City councils, school boards, port commissions are up for election. In Cowlitz County alone there are over 35 offices that will be on the ballot in 2019. These are part-time positions that can make a huge difference in our community’s direction.

In the city of Longview alone we have an opportunity to vote for four positions on the Longview City Council. Four years ago, no one ran against any of the sitting incumbents and one person filed for the open seat. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen again. This is our opportunity to encourage new people to participate (filing is in May) and to demand answers from incumbents and anyone asking for our vote.

Keeping in mind that the majority of the Longview City Council members have been in office at least eight years; they have had an opportunity to show us what they can do. Ask yourself if they have made significant progress on any of the following issues: water, economic development, housing and homelessness, transportation.

Here is just some of what they have done: denied allocated funding for warming shelter services to the only organization that provided shelter to our unsheltered neighbors – putting lives at risk; cut the public library budget – limiting opportunities for people to improve their lives; considered taking fluoride out of our water – ignoring decades of public health research; pitted public safety against human services – setting up a false choice, just to name a few.

My hope is that the people of Longview really ask questions of our city council and all of the people asking for our votes. We need leaders who will make smart investments in our future, who have the courage and discipline to be good stewards of our tax dollars – not hire professional staff and consultants and then ignore their advice. Other communities are addressing these challenges – we can learn from them.

In the past few years a very small, loud, and emboldened group of people have tried to intimidate and bully people from being engaged in our community. They claim to be protecting the taxpayer – but their extreme ideology is trumping common sense, logic, research, science, and known best practices. Too many of our current elected officials seem to either share the same extreme ideology or are not willing to challenge them. That costs us money, reputation, and opportunity. This approach does not serve our community in the long run.

Please get involved. Our future is at stake. Vote. Run. Lead.

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Teresa Purcell is the founder and principal of LongView Impact Inc. and the Working Democracy Project/Center, and host of Building Bridges on KEDO.