The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Opinion

November 6, 2012

Editorial: Election 2012: The decisions are yours

— Newspapers have historically offered endorsements of candidates and amendments ahead of a general election.

The choices we make Tuesday will affect us on a national, state and local level for the next four years. In the case of our congressional race, two years.

It is our belief, however, that our role as a community newspaper is to inform you, the reader, about the choices you will make. We feel that, with this election cycle, we have provided more than enough information to help you, the voter, make a wise and informed decision.

Beginning in late February, ahead of the March primary election, we began publishing a series of submitted articles and Q&As in an effort to help you and us get to know each candidate a little better. If you need a refresher, all of the articles are still available on our website, enewscourier.com, under the Election 2012 link on the left side of the page.

The News Courier also partnered with the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce, Athens State University and the Alabama Veterans Museum & Archives to host three public election forums this year. One of those forums, held in August, was for municipal election candidates. The other two, the most recent of which was held on Tuesday night, featured candidates in local races.

It’s those local races that are most important to Limestone Countians. What happens in Washington can anger and frighten us, but we are most affected by decisions made at the county and city level. It’s those decisions that directly affect our pocketbooks, what kind of service we receive in the license commissioner or circuit court clerk’s office and if a dangerous patch of road gets repaved.

We, however, will not tell you how we think you should vote on those local races. For most of you, we’re pretty sure your minds are already made up about which candidate you’ll vote for.

Some of you will vote your party preference. Others will vote for the candidate you believe will do the best job. Some will vote for a candidate because he’s your neighbor, friend a fellow church member or even a relative.

Having interacted with all the candidates through conversations, the forums and submitted articles, we feel strongly that most of the candidates would do an adequate job in the offices they are seeking.

On a state and national level, there is a greater divide between candidates. Once again, our opinion shouldn’t matter here as the differences are obvious.

After four years of President Barack Obama’s policies, voters should have a clear idea of what he stands for in terms of economic and foreign policy. They should also have a clear idea of what to expect if he is elected for another term.

Voters who consider themselves more conservative, favor smaller government and want a change in leadership will no doubt vote for Mitt Romney. We would not be surprised if Romney carries 65 percent of the state’s popular vote on Tuesday.

We will also circle in a dot Tuesday for U.S. Congress, District 5. Incumbent Mo Brooks has made a name for himself in Washington as a congressional Republican who has effectively blocked any and all proposed legislation sent down from President Obama over the last two years. He has, however, been a polarizing figure whose inflammatory sound bites have often required further explanation.

Brooks’ Democratic opponent, Charlie Holley, is a Limestone County native. Despite having a war chest nearly 20 times less than that of Brooks, Holley has earned a reputation in recent months as an effective speaker who conveys genuine concern about North Alabama’s future.

Perhaps the most important statewide contest of note is that of Alabama Supreme Court Justice. Roy Moore, who was removed from the office previously for failing to comply with a court order, miraculously won the Republican primary in March. Despite thumbing his nose at authority while protecting his Ten Commandments monument, Moore could be the odds-on favorite to win again if Republicans vote straight ticket.

Moore’s opponent, Judge Bob Vance, was recruited by the Alabama Democratic Party late in the game after they successfully removed former candidate Harry Lyon. Vance, who is a circuit court judge in Jefferson County, recently told The News Courier that he would be willing to work with Republicans and Democrats alike to help stave off the deepening economic crisis that is hurting the state’s court system.

These are certainly the races we’ll be paying attention to, but none more than the local races that will have the greatest effect on us.

It doesn’t matter to us if you’re Republican, Democrat, independent or undecided, we sincerely hope all Limestone Countians exercise their right to vote on Tuesday. May the best candidates win.

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