What are you waiting for?
First, grassroots uprisings have made fools out of so-called experts. Pundits and parties have vastly underestimated the ire, determination and intelligence of voters who refuse to follow expectations. Predicting the outcome of this election is a fool's bet.
Second, an unprecedented number of people – Republican, Democrat and independent – are paying attention. Many surprise themselves by preferring Libertarians like Rebecca Sink-Burris for Senate, Scott Wise for U.S. House 3rd District and Mike Wherry for secretary of state.
If everyone who preferred Libertarians actually voted for Libertarians, Libertarians would win. Big. Unfortunately, Republicans and Democrats have you terrified that you'll elect “The Other Guy.”
So you'll obediently follow the crowd and vote for the guy who appears to be in the lead, based upon push polls that the parties pay for. Those polls rarely include more than two candidates. I know. I've gotten the calls. Too many media stories reinforce this image, treating Libertarians and independents as afterthoughts within news stories. This reinforces the notion of electoral inevitability. It's poor journalistic stewardship.
As for the parties, you'd think they'd at least fake repentance in the wake of rampant voter disgust. Instead, they've acted in disdain. Want proof? Check out the secretary of state race.
The parties cannot blame clueless voters or party-crossers for sticking them with lousy candidates. Convention delegates, not primary voters, choose secretary of state candidates. The Republican and Democrat candidates brazenly disregarded election law while running for the office that enforces election law.
Republican Party regulars chose Charlie White, who's under investigation for claiming to live in his ex-wife's house so he could keep his seat on the Fishers Town Council. Democrats picked Vop Osili, whose sloppy campaign reports fail disclosure requirements. “But I can't waste my vote.” Hold-your-nose votes look the same as enthusiastic votes. The winners will use these votes as a mandate. Don't complain when Democrats and Republicans give you choices between bad and worse. They've given you the candidates you've asked for.
Sheri Conover SharlowOn Nov. 2, the American people will face the prospects of a troubling midterm congressional election. The American electorate is far from settled on a course for future governance of this country. We are both understandably angered and frustrated with both the current and past excesses of our federal government. Increasingly, and not necessarily unwarranted, Americans have become concerned if not completely skeptical toward the ability of the government to address the most important issues, foreign and domestic, our nation faces as the midterm looms.
Yet it is not merely a matter of addressing political ills. For what America has faced and continues to experience is a failure of governance, resting on the shoulders of not just one political party but squarely on the part of all politicians who purport to be leaders or seek to have the opportunity to lead this country.
What America needs is leadership, not a political version of musical chairs. While we may be perfectly free to reject the policies of a Democratic administration and the promulgation of those policies by a Democratic-led Congress, we should be wary of placing back into leadership a Republican party whose own failings were openly rejected by the American public four short years ago.
All parties must be held accountable. Our nation's economic troubles and continued troubling and costly foreign policy are the result of failed leadership from both political parties and the incompetent yet arrogant display of governing from both the past Bush administration and the current Obama presidency.
It is time for Americans to become engaged in the affairs of our country. We must insist our political leaders honestly, openly and sincerely confront the problems we face as a nation. We must face and openly accept serious and at times difficult choices to bring about a better path for our nation and to retain and hold forth the promise of a better future.
Kevin KrajweskiOn Nov. 2 our communities will decide if our kids are important enough to help pay for their local education to be top quality. Southwest Allen County Schools has just approved its second referendum for educational needs, and Northwest Allen County Schools just went through a building project remonstrance, which was overwhelmingly supported by the community.
Property tax cuts and the state's use of income and sales tax to fund public entities have hurt local schools, local police, local fire departments, local towns. Many have benefited from the property tax cut, but it has been at the expense of our local community services.
Our East Allen County Schools board has sought input regarding our children's education from our communities for more than three years. We coupled that with what we have studied to be necessary in order to provide the best educational opportunities. That result is our redesign. Keeping all five of our communities with their community center, their high school, open, and keeping their children close to that school was the most important to the vast majority.
Critics of the referendum that will be voted on Tuesday have suggested we “tighten the belt” more, that we cut upper-level administrators and that we cut teachers' pay. Since 2005, we have made budget reductions totaling more than $6.9 million. In the past two years, we have cut six positions from central administrations totaling more than $550,000. Some cuts we cannot make because of contract settlements; other cuts leave us with no one to do the enormous paperwork and testing required by the state and federal governments.
To develop the whole child and give our 10,000 students the ability to compete in a local, national and global market, we need $8 million.
Cutting all upper-level administrators would save $1.4 million a year. Cutting all teachers' salaries 2 percent (which we cannot do because of contract) would save $637,000 a year. We have already made these types of cuts, as well as downsizing teacher positions and cutting after-school activities. You can see that these cuts would still not pick up the $8 million.
Heritage and Leo high schools now have some classes at 38 students because of cuts we already have made. We could add more to classes, making some classes 47 students, and downsize one out of three teachers. That would save us $10,608,340 a year and would keep us from needing the referendum, but large class sizes are not good for individualized learning.
My taxes on a referendum will increase $360 a year. That is less than $1 a day and less than $7 a week. Are the children in our communities worth that? Please choose “kids” at the voting booth. I am.
Terry Jo Lightfoot
LeoHaving recently learned that 25-year incumbent State Sen. Tom Wyss has “ignored” debate requests from his democratic challenger, Jack Morris, as well as countless voters, I thought it fair to present Wyss' record, even if he is afraid to.
From 2007 to 2009, Sen. Wyss billed taxpayers $22,000 for 33 out-of-state trips. This included a trip to Arizona to visit the Mexican border. Aside from some photo ops, what exactly did he do there that is relevant to Indiana? Furthermore, Wyss was just one of 11 senators to vote against a crackdown of businesses for hiring illegal immigrants here in Indiana. This trip was a waste of taxpayer dollars.
He has received more than $8,000 for sports tickets. This includes tickets to a brand-new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts, which was funded for in part by his vote, allotting $8 million a year to the stadium, all while our education funding was cut drastically. What are his priorities?
In midst of Wall Street bailouts and financial crisis, Wyss cast the lone vote against financial institution and market reform (SB 571). Further, he was the only vote against bringing Indiana in concurrence with federal law governing mortgage lenders, which mandates residential mortgage loan creditors and originators to comply with requirements of the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008.
Why? With the real estate industry being one of Wyss' top campaign donors, questions must be raised as to whom his priorities are directed toward. The voters? Or special-interest groups?
Wyss asked, “Why bother?” on a bill that would have required members of the legislature be present when voting. After 25 years, our state senator does not feel it is necessary to be held accountable and will assume the position once again if voters do not hold him accountable. I urge you to vote for Jack Morris, who has been working hard talking to voters, and has pledged to not accept lobbyists' gifts if elected, serving the people, and not the special interests that have seemingly conflicted Sen. Wyss' position as a representative to the people. For all the talk about changing the political scene, now is the time. If a politician refuses to respond to his voters, requesting accountability and transparency, he deserves to be fired.
David GochenourOver the last several years, northeast Indiana has gained strength in the state by electing individuals who have ascended to prominence in the General Assembly. Randy Borror's departure from those ranks, however, has the potential to leave a huge void in that power structure.
On Tuesday, northeast Indiana residents will have an opportunity to maintain that legislative strength by electing Bob Morris to a full term in the 84th District. Morris will be able to get individuals to coalesce around common- sense conservative principles, like lower taxes and smaller government. He will be a quick study who will do his homework and ensure he has received input from a divergence of demographics before casting his vote. He will make certain the voices of the residents of Indiana and the 84th District are heard before special interests.
In short, northeast Indiana is at a critical juncture, and people like Morris will help us continue the strength we have gained in the Statehouse. Remember to vote for Bob Morris.
Nelson PetersIt will be nearly impossible to replace Robin Riley and her 21 years of dedicated service to her position and to the Huntertown residents when she vacates the Huntertown clerk-treasurer's position at the end of this year. Therefore, I am compelled to publicly endorse someone who has a passionate and proven history with the town in recent years. That person undoubtedly is John Hidy.
Hidy is an educated, upfront “people” person who will keep the financial interests of the town and its taxpayers top priority. I cannot support his opponent Dave Rudolph, who openly referred to the current Huntertown Town Council as “evil” as he and his wife said to Town Council candidate Gary Grant and me after a recent town meeting.
Michael J. Aker
Candidate for Huntertown Town CouncilLet me count the races Tom Hayhurst's opponent has run in the past year: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. With no clear vision of the work to be done, it seems Marlin Stutzman just wants to be elected to some office, any office.
I want a representative who has examined the issues and made a dedicated commitment to campaign and serve the citizens of the 3rd District. I want an honest representative, not one who will state publicly that the law said the Stutzmans had to accept nearly $1 million in farm subsidies even though he says he is against them. That is just not true. One has to apply for those subsidies and then cash the check(s). He must have wanted them.
There are many, many reasons Tom Hayhurst is the best choice for 3rd District representative. Please watch, read and listen to the ads. Then don't miss this rare and extraordinary chance to elect change in how we are represented in Washington.
Janet BradburyOne of my friends and mentors often says that, “If you always do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got.”
During this election season I have been paying close attention to many of the races, including the race for Allen County Superior Court judge. Many political races, including this one, are about change. One of the things I have heard the incumbent judge say a number of times is that he has been a judge for more than 18 years and you just don't know what you will get with his opponents. Well, I don't completely agree with that statement.
I am supporting Wendy Davis for Allen County Superior Court judge. I have known Davis for eight years and first came to know her through our interactions during her community involvement. I find her to be the highest-caliber person and a great candidate.
Davis' experience as an attorney in both Indiana and Texas is invaluable. Her work with a federally funded drug and violent- crime task force will be an asset to Allen County. She truly cares about our community. Please take the time to learn more about her at www.wendydavisforjudge.com and make an informed, intentional decision.
John GuingrichRemember on Tuesday that the special-interest groups of Congress received billions of dollars from the stimulus plan, while our VA hospital still stands dilapidated, substandard, out of code and overused. If you do not remember, then you deserve to relive history again.