Election requires informed voters
Election rhetoric is at its highest and soon we will have to decide which candidates to entrust with many of our state governmental activities. Have you checked out those running for statewide offices (Secretary of State, auditor and treasurer)? What do you think about the contest between the candidates for the United States House of Representatives from our district?
In addition, we will vote for a member of the Indiana Senate and two members of the state House of Representatives. The next state budget will be crafted by these elected officials.
Money is tight, and there is always a question as to how to distribute it. In this election, many contests are defined by those who want to limit government by cutting spending and those who prefer to provide what they deem better services and facilities that create a healthier place to live and work and raise a family. What do you know about the backgrounds and qualifications of those people from which you have to choose?
Closer to home there are candidates running for elected county offices. Google ‘county government in Indiana’. You will be amazed at the breadth and depth of responsibilities that fall on these officeholders.
County government covers everything from libraries and parks to home rule powers and fiscal allocations on roads and health facilities. Without the dollars, you can’t do anything. Sometimes the two political parties are defined by where they believe we should get the money for public needs and how that money should be allocated.
The following county officeholders will be elected: commissioners and councilors, superior court judge, prosecuting attorney, auditor, treasurer, sheriff and assessor. These folks must be good managers of skilled work teams as they interface with complex state and national regulations and programs. At the same time, our elected officials must be in tune with the cultural patterns of our county and the conditions of citizens today. The old reruns of Barney Fife as the deputy sheriff on ‘The Andy Griffin’ show with his gun that held no bullets is funny today but a far cry from a modern county sheriff’s office.
Now is the time to look into the training and ideas held by those who will sit at the table and decide, as school board members, what will and what will not happen in our local educational systems. If we really believe it when we say, ‘our children are our future,’ then let’s put some brain power and muscle behind getting the resources that produce quality schools.
Don’t overlook the candidates for township trustees and their advisory boards. They do a lot more than administer township assistance to those in need. Do you know the township in which you live?
As I travel around the world, I come home each time with an increased appreciation for our democratic form of government and the free flow of information.
On my recent trip to ex-Soviet Union countries, I heard repeatedly that people really didn’t know what to think about Russian activity in the Ukraine. They pointed to the fact that, for years, all information coming out of the Soviet Union was propaganda, and they had not seen that change with its breakup in 1991. So, they just wait to see what will happen next and hope that things will turn out OK.
That isn’t good enough for us Americans. We want to be empowered to have control over our own lives. We, as citizens, believe that our nation was founded on the principle ‘that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.’
We are a unique nation that has developed a participatory and representative form of democracy. We want to have a say in what happens in our country.
We are not all experts in all things nor do we all have the ability, interest or opportunity to represent others and perform in a working government. But we must seek out the facts and try to gain an understanding of the issues that impact our lives. We must form opinions as to what we think are good ideas and working plans. We must examine those folks who want to be public servants to determine which ones we agree with, which ones we believe can do the job, and then we do what we can to see that they are elected.
Discuss candidates and offices to be filled with family, work colleagues, teachers and friends. Let’s celebrate our freedom by availing ourselves of a variety of political views on the Nov. 4 elections, making educated choices and then voting.