Editorial: Before you vote the issues, know the candidates

In this issue of the Addison Independent, we go beyond just covering the news of the day by also publishing answers on eight issues to all 15 state house candidates in Addison County, and the four candidates running for the two Senate seats representing Addison County, Huntington and Buel’s Gore. The answers are broken out by House and Senate races, so readers can hone in the races in their districts — easily comparing answers between candidates, as well as comparing them to other races or the answers provided by the county’s state senators. Read what the candidates have to say in their own words here.
By comparing answers, and from studying these issues on your own, you’ll come away with a fairly good understanding of how each candidate would approach the major issues facing the Legislature in the next two years.
And there’s more. On today’s front page is a story that could be titled, “Much Ado About Nothing.” It’s the race for high bailiff in Addison County. No doubt you have seen the lawn signs supporting either Charles Clark, Jr. or Ronald Holmes. Holmes, the Democrat, has been in this rodeo before, as has Republican Charles Clark, Jr., the incumbent. The interesting story here is why we even have the office and why anyone wants to run for it — let alone two candidates who have been actively fighting for the position. How so? The high bailiff’s primary job is to arrest the sheriff, and without doing so there is no pay. So it’s a political office that has a high probability of no work to perform, and no pay for not doing it.
Curious? Read the story and learn more. And, in case you want more political coverage, on Page 3A is a report on a candidates’ forum, sponsored by ACORN, in which agricultural issues were the focus.
Then, there are opinions — editorials, community forums, columnists and five pages of letters to the editor. Most of these are about the upcoming election and may provide insights to particular candidates. Take them for what they are — one person’s opinion — and read critically, tossing out the obviously partisan comments for those that ring true in an objective analysis. Opinion, of course, does have its place in informing our collective intelligence — not only about a candidate and the issues, but also about our communities. Read with a sharp mind eager to learn and an open heart willing to understand the perspective of others.
Admittedly, that’s a lot of reading — about 14 pages, plus parts of three others — and there are still 40 other pages of community news, sports, school, business and other aspects of the community. Of course, you don’t have to read it all. Of the eight pages of candidate questionnaires, you can hone in on just the Senate candidates and your local House race. And you can pick and choose the letters you want to read.
Or you could convince yourself that spending an hour or two reading about these local races is part of your democratic duty. To know each candidate and the issues, after all, is the first step in the democratic process.
Step two is making sure you are registered to vote; and the final step, on or before Nov. 8, is to vote.
But it is not just about casting your vote: Most fundamentally, our forefathers expected us all to care enough to become informed and to cast educated votes to advance our communities, state and nation.
To do that we all must read, study and think. Thanks for doing your part.
— Angelo S. Lynn

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