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Clear head, informed-mind work best at polls

With the 2006 General Election less than three weeks away and some contested races heating up, I want to remind voters to keep a clear head and open mind so they can make good, informed decisions when they go to the polls on Nov. 7.
Just about any candidate seeking public office will tell you they’re the best candidate for the job they are seeking.
Maybe they are; maybe they’re not. That’s where you come in.
I encourage you to learn as much as you can about each candidate before you head for the polls, then vote for the person whom you believe will best represent you. And, if you can, keep political parties out of the equation. If, after doing your homework, you believe two candidates are equally qualified, then go ahead, vote for the candidate that represents your party.
Keep in mind that, at least at the local level, the people running for office aren’t that much different from one another.
Through our news stories, we try to provide as much information about the candidates as we can. But because we can’t dedicate the entire newspaper to political races, we focus on what we see are the main issues. While we hope we touch on some of the same issues you, our readers, are concerned about, individual interests vary from person to person.
That’s where your responsibility as a voter comes in. You should be interested enough in who’s going to represent you for any office to do some research on your own. Ask input from persons whose opinion you value. Find someone who’s worked with the candidate, either in their capacity as an officeholder or their regular employment.
Or, better yet, if you have a particular concern, contact the candidates directly. Most have said they welcome questions from voters.
I ask that you avoid rumors and gossip; don’t take everything anyone tells you as gospel. Often what you’re hearing is something that’s being repeated by someone who doesn’t know if it’s true or not.
Along that same line, I ask that you treat any candidate with respect, whether you agree with them or not. It takes a big commitment to run for public office. The person has put himself or herself out there to give people a choice, not to be used as a whipping post.
The last thing I would ask is that all candidates be treated as equally and fairly as possible. Unfortunately, I learned that recently some people seeking office were invited to a public event as a chance for them to campaign, while others who were running for the same office were not given that opportunity. I would hope that this type of favoritism does not continue in this county. It helps create ill feelings and distrust, which could be difficult to overcome.
So, take a deep breath, get busy learning all you can about the candidates you will be asked to select on Nov. 7, and may the best man ‘ or woman ‘ win.