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Election 2013: Invigoration needed

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Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

In little more than three weeks, you can go to a polling place near you and decide who will lead the government in your borough or township.

For the most part, these elections of council members, mayors and township supervisors have been popularity contests.

If you don't know the candidates, you may not even vote. There is little “celebrity” attraction elsewhere on the ballots, unless you consider the leadership qualities offered by candidates for sheriff or coroner — both important offices, but they do not make policy decisions.

What would enliven this political process in your community?

Candidates need to stand out from the pack and offer one or two creative ideas such as:

• finding ways to encourage more public involvement in municipal business, creating time at public meetings for looking ahead and airing new ideas;

• developing rapport with neighboring leaders and exploring cooperative efforts;

• using the visibility of an elected position to draw attention to community efforts that are not normally the “duties” of a council member, supervisor or mayor.

Recently we have seen examples of such creativity. Developers Larry Nelson and Ed Evans are turning the Shannock Valley High School into a youth center. And Kittanning Police Chief Bruce Mathews held a free spaghetti dinner to reinvigorate the borough's crime-watch program.

There are creative ideas to be shared, and for the best candidates to make them known.

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