Door wide open for potential leaders

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The Denton city election is still months away, but we’ve known of at least two people who may be interested in replacing Mayor Mark Burroughs, who will leave office in May.

We’d like to hear about a lot more.

Our feelings have nothing to do with the people whose names are already out there, and we wish them well.

But when it comes to local politics, we hear a lot of talk, promises and complaints, but it always seems that far too few residents are willing to expend the effort required to run for public office.

And that’s too bad.

Denton is a thriving city with a bright future, and we know there are a lot of smart, talented and enthusiastic people out there of all ages who would make great City Council members and, yes, mayors.

We have well-seasoned business leaders, some with previous political experience, and we have many young people who are just waiting for their chance to get in on the act.

Well, this may be their time.

There has been plenty of chatter in political and community circles about who might run in recent months. Mayor Burroughs is ineligible because of term limits in the city charter.

Pete Kamp, the mayor pro tem, technically could run for mayor but couldn’t serve the full term for similar reasons.

The city charter includes a limit of 12 consecutive years of service for any elected official — a limitation that is less well-known than the three-consecutive-terms limit that affects Burroughs.

In May, Kamp will have served 11 consecutive years, after she switched from serving a district seat to serving at-large in 2008.

“It would be totally unfair to run and only serve one year,” Kamp said.

So, there you go — the door appears to be wide open to potential leaders, and we hope that many of you will consider making a run next spring.

There are many factors to consider, of course, including the amount of time required — elected officials put in a lot of long hours — and there’s also the high level of stress that comes with the job.

We’re not saying that you need nerves of steel to serve as a city council or school board member, but the job does come with some frustrations.

Plus, mayoral campaigns have become high-dollar affairs in recent years. When Burroughs challenged then-Mayor Perry McNeill in 2008, the two spent more than $120,000 combined on the campaign. In 2012, when Denton lawyer Neil Durrance challenged Burroughs’ re-election, the spending was not nearly as feverish, but more than $20,000 was spent among them and a special-purpose committee.

State law requires candidates to appoint a treasurer before accepting a donation and making or authorizing a campaign expenditure.

But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and we hope that a lot of folks will decide to accept the challenge of becoming a city leader.

There’s still time to think about it — the period to file for a place on the May ballot doesn’t open until next year — but there’s nothing wrong with getting a jump on the competition.

Like we said, we hope to see a lot of people announce their intentions to seek office during the weeks ahead — the more candidates we have in the races, the better our leadership potential will be.


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