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July 15, 2014 7:15 am

EDITORIAL: Voters and candidates all bear responsibility for election outcomes

Written by Ilene Olson

Candidates for two statewide elected positions — Wyoming superintendent of public instruction and Wyoming secretary of state — were in Cody on July 7 for a public debate that was not well attended.

That is unfortunate, because six candidates — three for each office — came from as far away as Cheyenne and Rock Springs to make sure we had a chance to hear their views on issues surrounding their candidacy and the offices they seek.

More unfortunately, poor attendance at political debates and other forums to inform voters about candidates and issues is not an unusual phenomenon.

Many people wait until the days and weeks before a general election to study up on candidates, if they do so at all. But the reality is, many races in Park County and Wyoming are decided largely or entirely during the primary. Now is the time to become familiar with candidates and issues.

Thankfully, you still can view that debate, hosted by Park County Republican Women, online on TCT West’s website, www.tctwest.net.

There are other opportunities to learn about candidates and issues. A forum tonight (Tuesday) features Republican candidates for the Park County Commission. It will take place at 6 p.m. in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Coe Auditorium in Cody.

A forum on Monday featured candidates for Park County clerk and Park County sheriff.

There are other ways to learn about candidates and their views. Some suggestions: Read stories about them in the Powell Tribune.

Check out their websites and blogs and talk to people who know the candidates and the issues. That way, you can cast your vote for the person you think will do the best job rather than going with the name that sounds most familiar.

Of course, candidates bear responsibility as well. They should do everything possible within reason and their resources to inform people about their candidacy and their views, and they should do so in a respectful and polite manner.

Last week’s debate was a good example. It was informative and concise, and the candidates kept their presentations polite and civil.

That’s as it should be. We believe the rancor that so often epitomizes political races, activities and events these days only fuels more angry and unproductive political rhetoric and increases voter apathy.

Too many politicians appear to be more interested in representing their parties and political views than they are in representing the public. For instance, one question posed recently in a Park County GOP “Scorecard” asks Republican candidates if the Republican Party should have the right to remove them from office if they don’t represent the party’s views.

That’s absurd, it’s egotistical and arrogant, a disservice to the public, and it goes against the American and Wyoming constitutions.

We challenge candidates to focus their campaigns on their strengths and skills. Instead of drawing party lines and taking potshots at each other, we encourage them to  provide specifics about what they believe makes them the better choice and how they would improve efficiency and public service in the elected offices they’re seeking.

And we challenge voters to inform themselves during the coming weeks so they can make educated choices in the primary and general elections. Absentee voting is now underway. The primary will be held Tuesday, Aug. 19.

You are going to have to live with the results of the election for the next two to six years. Why not exercise your right to vote to have a say in that outcome?

12 comments

  • Comment Link July 15, 2014 8:59 am posted by Salty Dawg

    Think outside the "R" box people,for once in your life.Just because these people have an "R" beside their name does NOT make them better than any other candidate.

  • Comment Link July 15, 2014 10:29 am posted by WyomingGal

    What does it matter? A republican is going to win regardless of who runs for which office. We know that they are all interchangeable in their philosophies and their stances on things, so it really doesn't matter who we choose. As long as a republican wins each and every seat, that's all that really matters in this state.

  • Comment Link July 15, 2014 2:24 pm posted by Dix

    FYI the debate featuring the SPI and the SOS was hosted by the Park County Republican Party not the PCRW. Also, the debate by the sheriff candidates was supposed to take place at the museum, but the PCRW forgot to reserve the place.

    As for the comment, "it goes against the American and Wyoming constitutions." Please point out where in those constitutions you found your point?

  • Comment Link July 15, 2014 2:39 pm posted by position

    WyomingGal, please tell me your joking around.

  • Comment Link July 15, 2014 3:50 pm posted by Salty Dawg

    I don't think WyominGal is joking around,as a matter of fact she speaks a lot of truth in her comment...... like it or not.And I happen to agree with her.

  • Comment Link July 16, 2014 1:06 pm posted by position

    Dawg and Gal, reference from her post:
    "As long as a republican wins each and every seat, that's all that really matters in this state."

    You agree with that? I would hardly put my trust in anyone simply because of the consonant that resides at the end of their name.

  • Comment Link July 17, 2014 11:45 am posted by WyomingGal

    Position, I was being sarcastic in my remarks that you quoted. One republican is just as good as the next because they all follow the party line, say the same thing, and mainly have the same stances on issues. It's hard to tell them apart. As a registered democrat, I don't have them coming to my door as they only seem to visit those homes that are on their registered voter lists which coincide with their party affiliation. Must be nice to run for office and not have to do much legwork to get the job. They want the public to come to them when they have meet & greets and such, but here's the thing,I don't expect any prospective employer to come to my house for an interview, I go to them for a job as should the people running for office in my honest opinion. Hope this clears things up for you Position.

  • Comment Link July 18, 2014 5:19 am posted by position

    WyomngGal,
    It does, and thanks for the reply.

  • Comment Link July 18, 2014 7:47 am posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    @WyomingGal,the reason they don't have to do much legwork is because they have done a good job of brainwashing generations of kids into thinking the GOP is the only thing that counts.Bad deal all around,especially in Wyoming,as there is very little competition for new thinking and new blood.

  • Comment Link July 18, 2014 3:17 pm posted by position

    Taxpayer, who is the "they" you reference?

  • Comment Link July 21, 2014 7:44 am posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    @position...well if you can't figure that out,then you must be a product of the brainwashing.

  • Comment Link July 23, 2014 4:27 am posted by position

    Taxpayer, you didn't answer the question.

    Understandable, as I believe "they" you reference must be parents. Am I correct?

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