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Chapman: We’d appreciate your input

By Staff | May 2, 2014

For me, politics is a love-hate relationship. It took me about a week to devour the first two seasons of Netflix’s hit political drama “House of Cards.” (Don’t worry, I’m not gonna go all Frank Underwood on the Ricks to get the most park board votes).

I try to read at least a smidgen of national, North Dakota and Virginia politics each evening. I regularly tune into the Daily Show and Colbert Report for some television politics with a comedic take. When issues are really inflamed I’ll flip through the main cable networks, but I seldom tune in at any length because I get tired of being yelled at by cranky, old conservatives and arrogant, young liberals.

Even my favorite magazines through college grew tiresome because the effort to accurately present both sides of issues fell to the wayside. Because the media landscape implores us to choose one side, civil discourse and an educated electorate are nearly extinct ideals.

The issue of ill-informed voters trickles down to local levels too.

The North Dakota primary elections are on June 10, a mere 39 days a way. Are Pierce County and Rugby going to elect/advance the right people or follow the trend of lazy voting that plagues the country?

As I continue to settle into life in the area, I hear more and more complaints about this elected official or that elected official. Why did the council do that? Why are the commissioners in favor of this?

We ran a request for voter questions in last week’s paper and are running that same request in this week’s edition. As of Thursday, the Tribune has yet to receive one email, phone call or visit regarding concerns to be raised in a questionnaire for candidates of positions on our June ballot. The questions can remain anonymous, yet no one seems interested.

This is nothing new in election years. Neither is the nature of complaining about officials once they’re in office. Complaining is a good thing because we need to hold elected officials accountable, but far too often the complaints are steeped in misinformation.

One of the best ways to get ahead of the game is to elect people you truly believe in and not just because he or she is your neighbor or family member. Candidates should be questioned, so voters can make the most informed decisions possible. Granted, you’re not going to be pleased with everything officials do, but you can be pleased knowing you did your research ahead of the vote.

So, now I beg for community involvement and input. I can’t possibly know what most readers are concerned about in our area because I’ve only been around six months. The Tribune staff can’t possibly know of all the concerns (and prevalence of each) with a regular staff of five.

The community and state are ever-changing and the “This isn’t smalltown North Dakota anymore,” statement is repeated over and over. In order to advance Pierce County and Rugby, while keeping it a great place to live, citizens need to be active and not rely on a select few councilmen or commissioners to shape our future.

Please consider this important request and, by all means, bombard us with your concerns and questions. The Tribune is committed to providing voters with as much information as possible, but we need your input is pivotal.

Questions can be sent to tchapman@thepiercecountytribune.com, or call 776-5252. The Tribune is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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