Keizer is going to have some contested election races this fall.  Voters will decide contested elections for mayor (first time since 2002), and at least one city council position.

After a decade of running unopposed, Mayor Lore Christopher will face Councilor David McKane in November’s election. Christopher has said, if elected, this would be her last term; McKane is on record as saying if he is elected he would serve one term. If we take the candidates at their word whoever is elected mayor in the fall will serve for two years and then bow out.

The current economic climate doesn’t offer any candidate for mayor or council the opportunity to promise new or expanded programs. Candidates will have to campaign on issues of style and substance.

Three council seats have no incumbent running this year. So far Ken LeDuc and Dennis Koho have attracted no opposition in their races.

Brandon Smith has opted out of seeking election to a second full term. His seat has garnered the most candidates—three. Marlene Quinn, Matt Chappell, and Eamon Bishop will face each other for that position. We expect they will all campaign in their own way and offer their visions of Keizer’s future, both short- and long-term.

It is refreshing to see this many candidates running for office in Keizer.; there has not been a contested council race since 2008. Contested elections give voters a choice and it fosters debate on the issues that concern residents. At times there may not be much difference between candidates on policy or vision, which is fine, the citizenry still has a choice between styles and personalities.

The 2012 city campaign won’t kick off in earnest until after Labor Day, then the campaign signs will start sprouting. Candidates will be seen in more neighborhoods, ringing on more doorbells, as they seek the votes of Keizer households, trying to persuade them that the candidate’s views are best of the city.

We salute those who have decided to be a part of the political process and put themselves in the spotlight. It is not always easy but is the only way our democracy can work.