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Choosing the right candidate – from a couple of perspectives

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By Chris Edwards and Jan White

You need only drive down any given street in almost every part of town to see that it’s that time again – voting season. Incumbent candidates have already stated their intentions to seek re-election, and contenders new to the game are throwing their hats into the ring for the first time in a bid to serve.

Elections are an exciting time in the news business, and as observers of the human condition, writers can find it fascinating to see what trends emerge or disappear in the turmoil and drama caused by elections. Because of our jobs, reporters generally just watch from the sidelines, taking neither side but trying to present candidates from a non-biased position.

But one thing we can chime in on is what can be done for the good of the people and finding candidates who are running for their respective offices with that willingness to serve, and not their party affiliations. People willing to step up to the plate and take a few swings for the betterment of their slice of the county or their cities is a sign of good things.

Chris Edwards, news editor, put in his two cents on the subject, pointing toward a moral code that can be applied to pretty much every aspect of life, including voting.

“It’s called “The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do.” Created by businessman Herbert J. Taylor in the early 1930s and adopted by the service organization Rotary International, the test was intended to help save Taylor’s struggling aluminum products distribution company. His four-way test consisted of these questions:

•Is it the truth?

•Is it fair to all concerned?

•Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

•Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

In our current political climate, where it feels like basic humanitarian ethics are disappearing, these four questions can be used to help determine who to vote for in the upcoming elections.”

Courier community editor Jan White shared her thoughts on the subject: “One of my favorite quotes is ‘actions speak louder than words.’ My advice to voters considering a candidate is to ask how involved that person is with the office he or she is running for. For instance, when examining someone’s bid for city council, ask how many times the candidate has attended a city council meeting over the last couple of years. Question them as to what civic or service organizations they are members of or how they have contributed to their precinct or district so far. Same goes for the school board or the hospital district board candidates – how many times have you seen the person running for office attend a board meeting? I feel like in order to run for office, you can’t just look at it the incumbent and think, ‘Oh, I can do a better job than that.’ You need to be invested. You need to be able to prove to your constituents that you understand the organization, how it runs, how you are currently involved, and how you can best represent their needs and concerns.”

So as you head into this voting season, think about the Four-Way Test and question what each candidate brings to the table. Hopefully, when the time comes for you to cast your ballot, you will have eliminated some of that confusion that oftentimes comes with elections. You won’t begrudgingly vote for one candidate just to spite another but more than anything, that your vote will yield officeholders and policies that will be truthful, fair, beneficial to all concerned, and bring us back from the ever-increasing divide.

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