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All eyes certainly are focused on the upcoming provincial election, with the campaign expected to get underway officially in the coming days leading up to the June 7 vote.

But local residents actually will be going to the polls twice this year as municipal elections are slated for Monday, Oct. 22 for seats on councils across the district, as well as the two school boards and the Rainy River District Social Services Board.

Although election day is still more than five-and-a-half months away, nominations for those interested in running this fall opened yesterday (May 1), with the closing date set for July 27. And no doubt attention will ratchet up over the coming weeks as candidates toss their proverbial hats into the ring or announce their intentions not to seek re-election.

It was a lively election here in Fort Frances four years ago as three candidates—incumbent Roy Avis, former mayor Dan Onichuk, and former councillor Andrew Hallikas—vied for the mayor's chair while a whopping 16 people ran for the six seats on council. There also were races for the Fort Frances seats on both school boards as well as the DSSAB.

Whether we get that same interest this time around remains to be seen but let's hope so. It also would be great to see the same mix of male and female candidates, as well as age ranges, to ensure our elected officials best reflect the diverse makeup of the residents they represent.

Our communities should be grateful there are people willing to step forward to serve on council, the school boards, or the DSSAB. It is a tremendous responsibility and extremely time-consuming over the four-year term.

It also can be a thankless job as there always is someone upset with a decision no matter which way it goes.

Fortunately for us, there are those—fuelled by a desire to make their communities better places to live—who still do answer the call for public service regardless of the drawbacks. In these trying times, especially, their commitment is most welcomed and appreciated.

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