Editorial Column: Local Government and Local News



As many of us have heard by now, the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners took a historic vote in chambers regarding refugee resettlement yesterday afternoon. See that story here.

Many felt blindsided by this action, wherever they stood on the issue.

As a journalist, it is not my business to tell you how to think about the vote. It is my business, however, to inform all of you about what these local, elected officials are doing.

Too often, positions at city council, county board, school board and district courts go unchecked on the ballot. I know my first time voting in the 2008 election, I left those boxes unchecked, too, because I had never heard of any of them.

We have a tendency to follow the big-budget campaigns of federal candidates, but dismiss smaller elections as not being important enough.

I hope that many, after last night’s vote, feel differently now.

We have a responsibility, as Americans, to vote our conscience at every level. We have a duty to stay informed of the issues.

Whether you are a follower of mine, or a follower of the other fine local media products available to us here, it is important to stay up to date. I know that I and many other local journalists are attending every city council and county board meeting. The people need to know what these elected officials, our representatives, are doing with policy and of course, our tax dollars.

Several city council positions, county board positions and a couple school board positions are up for re-election this year. There are also seats up for re-election in the state legislature. While the filing period is not yet upon us, now is the time to plan a campaign, for those who feel they have a duty to do the work of the people.

P.S. Township elections run on a seemingly different calendar than the rest, filing for some township positions is open until Jan. 14.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.

'Editorial Column: Local Government and Local News' has 1 comment

  1. January 9, 2020 @ January 9, 2020 2:14 pm John Hurlbert, Bemidji

    Minnesota’s new Presidential Primary to occur on Mar. 3, 2020 will not exactly be a “secret ballot”. According to Beltrami Country’s Auditor/Treasurer, JoDee Treat’s column in the Beltrami County News for 4th Quarter 2019, you must request a ballot for the party you wish to vote in and that information will be recorded by the election judges. Of course those standing in line to vote will hear what your choice of party is. In addition, the chair of each political party will receive a list of the names of those who voted and in which political party they voted. I believe this disclosure of information of what party you voted in will cause a low turn-out.


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