GUEST VIEW: The heartbeat of our future: Navigating the upcoming bond election and the broader call to civic engagement

By Ed Mayberry

Life in the Permian Basin is more vibrant and busier than ever, and our community is deeply invested in the future. Our business meetings, school events and neighborhood chats are filled with discussions about the growth and potential of our entire region. Yet, there’s a clear problem: despite our strong community spirit and engagement, this enthusiasm is not translating where it matters most — at the voting booth. Remarkably, only about 10% of us make it out to vote across the Permian Basin, meaning our collective community’s voice is not being heard in the decisions that shape our present and future.

The vitality of our community, particularly evident in the growing amount of young families, professionals and emerging generations who call the Permian home, is anchored in decisions being made today — decisions that will impact our schools, homes and local businesses for decades to come. The importance of channeling our voice, concerns and visions into our ballots cannot be overstated.

Take, for instance, the upcoming November 7th school bond election in Midland. The Midland Independent School District (MISD), prompted by a compelling blend of a growing population and aging facilities, has presented a substantial $1.4 billion school bond proposal for the community’s consideration. The single proposition seeks to build new campuses and renovate existing ones, upgrade security across schools and address additional elements of our educational infrastructure. At its core, this proposal, however, extends beyond infrastructure, financial figures and their impact on property taxes. It is a tangible display of our community’s aspirations, our commitment to superior public education and our collective vision for the future of our children and generations yet to come.

The MISD bond election is not merely a financial decision. It is an acknowledgment of the 3,596 additional students expected to enter our schools over the next nine years, an understanding of the deficiency of relying on portable temporary buildings as classrooms, and a response to our aging schools, some constructed as far back as 1928. It is a decision that will impact every resident, either directly or indirectly, and warrants our collective engagement, scrutiny and vote.

Engagement in the electoral process, beginning with voter registration and culminating in the casting of your ballot, is an expression of our civic responsibility and a reflection of our commitment to this community. This is not just in the context of large-scale elections but fundamentally tied to our local elections, school board decisions and bond proposals.

As we stand on the edge of significant community decisions, particularly the upcoming MISD bond election, let’s take this opportunity to recommit ourselves to be active, informed and consistent participants in our democratic processes. When unified and mobilized through our votes, our collective voice has the substantial power to shape policy, direct community growth, and forge a future that genuinely reflects our shared values and aspirations.

Early voting, which begins on October 23, 2023, and runs through November 3, 2023, offers an opportunity to ensure our voices are heard, even amidst our busy daily lives ahead of election day on November 7, 2023.

To the Permian Basin, to our collective future, and to ensure our voice continually shapes the trajectory of this community, let us step forward, engaged and informed.

Ed Mayberry is a native Permian Basin resident and local business owner.