OUR VIEW: If you want to “vote ‘em all out,” more candidates have to emerge and that’s a major problem in Troup County

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, April 25, 2023

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We need new elected officials. Let’s vote them all out of office!” 

That’s a common mantra any time the general public gets upset about something, whether it’s at the federal, state or local level. 

And, of course, it’s our right as a citizen to feel that way. If an elected official isn’t doing the job we put them in office to do, then as Americans our right is to vote for someone else. 

Not to pick on the Troup County Commission, but the “vote them all out” mantra has been shared in numerous comments on our page over the recent sanitation decision. 

We’re paraphrasing, but the comments say something like: “Tell me who to vote against and let’s get them all out of office!”

And if that’s what the majority of the community wants, then it certainly could happen. That’s the right of the people. Majority rules. 

But that also means there actually have to be new candidates pursuing the position. 

The last few elections in LaGrange didn’t really feature many choices on the ballot, making it pretty difficult to “vote them all out.”

As a community, we literally just elected two brand new school board members who ran with no opposition. 

Overall, the three most recent school board races were completely unopposed. 

The recent mayoral race in LaGrange featured two candidates. The upcoming LaGrange City Council race features two candidates. 

In the most recent Troup County Commission race, two commissioners were re-elected with only one person running against each of them. 

Those races, won by Patrick Crews and Jimmy McCamey, were not close. 

We’ve written numerous times in this space about how it’s bad for the general public — the everyday citizen — for candidates to run unopposed. We’d argue it’s bad for the candidates too. No one pays attention to the election and they take office without taking part in a candidate forum or having to earn your vote.

Even when there are people on the ballot, getting registered voters to actually participate in local elections is a challenge as well. The recent LaGrange mayoral election was decided by about 10% of registered voters. The SPLOST election on the same ballot saw a slightly better turnout, but it was still embarrasingly low. 

We understand the public’s frustration, whether it’s about sanitation, schools in general, the well-documented investigations into several departments of the city of LaGrange, etc.  There’s a lot happening right now. 

But if you really want to create change in Troup County, consider signing up to run for county commissioner, school board or city council. 

Figure out how you can be the difference maker. Take the opinions of 70,000 residents (or 30,000 in LaGrange) and try to figure out the solution to complex issues. 

There are certainly people who do that well, and many who don’t, but if the next election cycle comes and only one or two candidates sign up in each race, it’s likely many of the faces people are complaining about will be back in office.

To be clear, our overall point isn’t that change is needed. Many of our elected officials are doing a good job. 

Our current local officials were willing to step into the spotlight, take on the criticism and serve their community. 

Our point is that if you are one of the people who truly want fresh faces elected, then someone new actually has to step up and run for public office. 

Based on recent elections in LaGrange and Troup County, we’re guessing there won’t be a lot of candidates vying for any of our local seats in the near future. 

And that’s unfortunate.