Matt deGrood

It’s hard to believe election season is already here again, but in two short weeks, Fort Bend County residents will head to the polls on election day to cast their ballots in both statewide amendments and several local races and referendums. Early voting already is underway, having started Monday, and is scheduled to continue through Oct. 29.

The races might lack the romance and glitz of a presidential or senate election, but this Nov. 2 election is nonetheless the essence of democracy.

This week we previewed one of those Missouri City council races, the District B race between incumbent Jeffrey Boney and challenger Everett Land, and plan to take a look at the other one next week.

In this case, we interviewed two candidates who both seemed knowledgeable, dedicated and teeming with ideas and plans for the future. It is neither our place, nor our inclination to decide who is most-qualified to receive your vote. Both seem eminently qualified.

Rather, this is where you come in.

Much time and print is spent in this country dissecting candidates for national and local office. Just flip on a TV news channel this time next year, and you’ll hear endless prognosticating about who might win where, what so-and-so has said and what the results might mean for the country writ large.

Lost in the political rat race, however, is the fact our elected leaders and the very country we live in are both reflections of us – the things we hold dear, the conversations we have and the knowledge we bring to each of our decisions. If we want politicians that snipe at and hurt each other, they do so only because it’s what we want. Simply put, a country is only as good as the sum of its many citizens.

Perhaps it’s the pandemic malaise, or simply being alive in the year 2021, but I increasingly worry about what our hyper partisan politics mean about the state of our collective souls. More and more often, it seems the battle is won by whoever shouts the loudest. Ignorance triumphs over knowledge.

For all of my negativity and worries, however, I’m constantly impressed by the individuals I meet in the course of my job. Whether it’s the neighborhood residents who band together to change the name of a street, a talented young musician, an advocate for renewable energy projects or a longtime Fort Bend County man with a passion for Black history – the tales of impressive people in this slice of Texas are nearly endless.

And that fills me with hope, even in these trying times.

Fort Bend County is an amazing place, filled with diverse and interesting people all trying to make their marks on the world. This place deserves political leadership as interesting and complex as those they represent.

Bond elections, council races and state amendments might not garner the sort of news coverage that those higher profile races do, but they’re absolutely critical to state and local politics, and the lives that we want to lead. Councilmembers have a say over where roads are built, how money is allocated and what projects are pursued. Here at the Fort Bend Star, we want to step into that information gap and inform you about the races and who’s running for election, but only that. And we hope in reading the first council preview story this week, you walked away from it with a sense of who both men are, and what they hope to accomplish.

If we’ve accomplished that much, then our job is done.

What happens next is up to you.

We hope you take this information and go a step farther. Ask follow-up questions. Consider who best aligns with what you’d like to see from local government. And think about what is even possible within the confines of local rules and laws. Find someone with whom you disagree, take them out for a coffee and have a civil conversation about the ballot.

Negativity and mean-spirited partisanship both prey on ignorance. It’s only by cutting through the noise to the heart of the matter, by educating ourselves and becoming knowledgeable about even the smallest of elections before walking into the voting booth that we can craft a better future, for all of us.

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