02/23/08 — So much at stake: Along with enthusiasm, local candidates need ideas

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So much at stake: Along with enthusiasm, local candidates need ideas

There seems to be an abundance of people who want to serve Wayne County on its board of commissioners this year.

The ballot is filling up so quickly that with a little less than a week to go before the end of the state filing period, there might not be much room left.

And that is a positive step in this community’s development.

Having an abundance of good people willing to serve is a sign of a strong and vibrant community with ideas to spare.

So, what should we expect from those candidates who want our votes in the primary or general election?

Well, it all boils down to one thing — priorities.

In the past in most communities, just announcing your family name and your connections might have been enough for you to get and keep a commission seat — or any other seat for that matter.

You shook hands, made speeches and then watched as people headed to the polls.

This year’s election is too critical in not just the commission race, but in the battles for judges and school board as well, to let candidates simply smile and say they will decide what positions they will hold on certain issues when they are on the board.

Especially when it comes to the commission, voters are going to need some answers to real questions early to make the right decisions about who will be running the county in 2009 and beyond.

Every candidate for commission should have a position on the future of education in this community. Listen for specifics on where the money should go and how much of a priority schools will be with regard to future capital expenditures.

We can’t afford to fall victim to rhetoric and rabble-rousing, either. We need more than grandiose pronouncements or random bickering to get this job done. We need people who understand the critical needs in our schools and who are willing to be a part of addressing them.

And then there is the money issue.

Wayne County is not made of money. Future commissioners need to understand that while we want what’s best for our community’s future, we need to be able to live, too. Out-of-control spending of any kind — including unreasonable tax hikes — are simply not in the cards right now. We need leaders who can look at the needs we have as a county and make decisions that are fiscally responsible and timely — even if some of us do not want to hear what they say.

And last but not least, we need people who believe in the future of this county and who are willing to put the hard work into making big strides here.

And that starts with being honest about the challenges we face now, as well as the possibilities for our future.

Pretty words without substance won’t be enough to win many votes here.

This is going to be some race.

It is up to Wayne County voters to make sure the best people get the jobs.

And make no mistake, candidates, your resume and your ideas will count.

Published in Editorials on February 23, 2008 7:55 PM