06/20/08 — Squeaky wheel: Wayne voters need to let candidates know we have high expectations

View Archive

Squeaky wheel: Wayne voters need to let candidates know we have high expectations

A little over a month ago, two Democratic candidates for the 5th District seat in the state Senate were forced into a runoff that will be held Tuesday. Neither Don Davis nor Kathy Taft earned enough votes to win the race outright and the chance to face Republican Louis Pate.

Because the district encompasses half of Wayne County, all of Greene and about half of Pitt, the person who holds that seat is in a position to do a lot to help Wayne residents.

And neither Democratic contender lives here.

The seat has long been held by Sen. John Kerr, a Democrat who has wielded considerable muscle in Raleigh. Now that power will be held by someone outside Wayne.

That’s simply politics.

So what happened after the May primary should make every Wayne County resident think long and hard about who will be their next senator. Both candidates in the runoff have made visits, but it seems that Wayne has not been a priority in the short time they have had to hit the stump.

And that should concern anyone who is trying to decide for whom he or she should vote this Tuesday. The runoff election is not the deciding factor — there will still be a race in November — but it is an important first look at those who want to represent Wayne County in the state Senate next year.

So, how do you judge who would be the best person to sit in Raleigh?

One of the first criteria is that they actually know and understand the issues that are facing Wayne County and care enough about this area to make sure local residents know where they stand on the issues, up close and in person.

District 5 is not that huge — although travel can be a formidable task for those who are running for office here — but there has been time to get around and to talk to those who will cast their votes.

Both candidates would do well to offer a much more detailed look into their plans for representing District 5 fairly and equitably.

And Wayne County residents should be ready with questions, concerns and anything else they can come up with that will help them decide if either candidate really understands the needs that face not just Pitt and Greene counties, but Wayne as well.

It might not seem like that important a task, choosing a state senator, but that’s because Wayne County residents have been spoiled by having Kerr taking care of them for so many years. And former Sen. Henson Barnes for years before that. For decades, Wayne has had a strong voice in the halls of the Legislature.

If we want to continue getting attention from state officials, we have to have someone up there willing to fight to be heard.

And now is the time to test to see which one of those running understands that this county is not willing to sit by the wayside — and can have an impact on whether or not he or she stays in office.

It’s a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease.

And now is the time to squeak.

Published in Editorials on June 20, 2008 10:59 AM