03/01/06 — At least they try: Respect candidates for willingness to serve

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At least they try: Respect candidates for willingness to serve

The names are in, and Wayne County and the state of North Carolina are about to embark on yet another campaign season.

There are a few contested races for the May primary, with the promise of a few more battles when election season gets into full swing this November.

But before we think about that possibility — and the inevitable good copy it will bring — a word.

As soon as a candidate announces he or she will seek public office, the discussion begins in earnest about why he or she is the worst possible choice for the seat.

And only sometimes does that critique actually come from the candidate’s opponent.

So, before the fur starts to fly, it is necessary to point out a positive.

Anyone who is willing to stand up and say he or she will serve in public office deserves a certain amount of respect. After all, there is not exactly a line of people who just can’t wait to serve their county or state.

Making a commitment to run is a sacrifice, both personally and professionally, that should be acknowledged.

Some of those who will be on the ballot in May might not be the best choice, and some might need a little more experience before their bids can be considered seriously, but they are all worth examining for not only their accomplishments to-date, but their potential to make a difference in their communities or state.

The same is true for some of the incumbents who will seek re-election this year. Some might need to be replaced, while others have proven through years of dedicated service that what would best serve their communities is for them to stay right where they are.

That is where the voters come in — and why we should all be paying close attention as the debates and interviews begin.

Our job is to figure out whose skills and ideas would be the best for this county and state as we strive to continue to grow and improve.

That means listening to not only the hype and promises, but to the underlying messages and ideas as well.

And, hopefully, we will hear a lot of them as the campaign begins.

The names on the ballot are set, but the outcome of the races is really up to all of us. It is a responsibility we should all take seriously. So, if you have a question, ask it. If you have a concern, voice it.

That is how we really will get the best in office — and how we can make sure our county and state are headed in the right direction.

Published in Editorials on March 1, 2006 11:07 AM