The more candidates, the merrier

It’s refreshing to see how many people have decided to run for selectman in Milford.

Besides the two incumbents, five others have decided to seek the two open seats.

Why is that good? Certainly, it won’t be a banner day in March for the five who will not win, but that’s not the point.

Actually, there are two points:

1. Choice is good. Having seven folks from whom to choose, then, is particularly good. Difficult, too, of course, because each candidate will have something to offer.

2. When so many people run for one board, it indicates to us that there is a level of commitment in a community. We have never been fond of “races” in which there were only the same number of candidates as there were seats open. That was, and remains, an indication of a certain level of ennui and that is never a good thing.

We wonder, though, if folks who sign up for local office understand the level of commitment they’re making. Being a selectman isn’t the part-time job that it appears to be. Sure, you only meet officially once a week, but the work it takes to be prepared for those meetings is often a great deal more than meets the eye.

And then there are the “secondary” meetings. A selectman, for instance, is almost always his or her board’s representative to another town board, perhaps the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Thus, he or she has to understand the issues before that board, too.

And then there is the community involvement and this is on two levels:

1. Local organizations like to interact with town officials, or have town officials interact with them. Shouldn’t a selectman or a School Board member join the Rotary, for instance?

2. The stop on the street is always interesting, too. If you are a selectman or a member of any town or school board, there is always the possibility of being asked a question while you’re grocery shopping or getting your hair cut or out for a run. It’s not unreasonable for people to think that because you are their neighbor, you are always accessible.

Still, serving on a local board is rewarding because in everything you do you are helping the people of your community. Yes, it’s a lot of work and, yes, sometimes you face a stop-and-ask when you have other things to do, but in the end, the probability is, you will have done worthwhile work.

So, in Milford, we have seven people willing to deal with everything it takes to be a selectman.

We wish more people felt as they do, because the more candidates, the merrier.