Well the last of three elections in Oregon for 2018 has passed. We can shake off the bombardment of election ads and take a breath before the talk and debate of 2020 elections begin infiltrating our airwaves all too soon.

Meanwhile, congratulations to the winners — and, for that matter, to the losers — of yesterday’s election.

Polk County had contested races in almost all city council seats, state government seats, and even in Polk Soil and Water Conservation District. That shows interest in and commitment to making a difference in our local government and in our daily lives.

We send our heartfelt appreciation to all who participated in this election. Those who were elected or re-elected have big jobs to do with very little or no financial compensation, and we appreciate it. Those who were not elected, thanks for giving us a choice on the ballot.

You sent in your vote — or didn’t — but that doesn’t mean your civic duty needs to end. Attend council meetings. Read up on the State Legislature. Write to your Congressman. You can join a budget committee or the planning commission in your city. There are endless ways you can get involved in what happens in your local government — and perhaps influence the state and federal level — in addition to casting your ballot.

Continue to be an informed citizen, and take your debates off of social media and into city halls and public forums.

The best way to make a difference is to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. And when we say money what we really mean is time. Not time debating with friends on Facebook, but actually volunteering to serve.

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