THE LAST WORD: Newspaper endorsements designed to help guide voter decisions

Kerry Hubartt

While many people are already anticipating next year’s presidential election, we think it isn’t as important to Fort Wayne citizens as this year’s election on Nov. 5.

Why? Because the candidates on the ballot are competing for the offices that make a direct impact on the lives of this city’s citizens. They are the ones who can impact public safety, economic development, schools, parking and the overall quality of life in your neighborhood and city. They will fill the public offices that directly affect how your taxes are spent, whether your streets and alleys are repaired, whether you have sidewalks along your streets and, yes, whether and how your trash gets collected.

This year’s Fort Wayne election will be for mayor, city clerk and City Council. So News-Sentinel.com is beseeching all eligible citizens to vote. And before voting, we encourage those who go to the polls to do their homework. Learn who the candidates are, what they stand for, what they have done to date and what they plan to do if elected.

To help voters in that process, starting today News-Sentinel.com is publishing a series of endorsements designed to introduce the candidates we think would do the best job in each office. Our endorsements are based on our editorial board’s interviews with candidates and represent our best judgment on how closely each one comes to matching the conservative values we have espoused through the years.

A few years ago, former News-Sentinel editorial page editor Leo Morris wrote that some newspaper editorial pages had stopped endorsing candidates in elections, convinced that their endorsements really didn’t influence many voters. Besides, they just end up making readers and candidates angry, he wrote, and after all, they may think, “Who are these high and mighty journalists to tell us how to vote?”

“But that is an abdication of responsibility,” Morris wrote. “Editorial pages express opinions every day, regardless of what others think and no matter whose feelings might get hurt. If they stop expressing opinions about the one thing that should matter most to citizens – which political leaders might control their lives – how do they justify their existence?”

So that’s what we are doing this week, beginning with today’s endorsement of the candidate we think should be the city’s next mayor. Tuesday will be our endorsement for city clerk, followed by our three picks for City Council at-large Wednesday, City Council 3rd District Thursday, 4th District Friday, 5th District Saturday and 1st District Monday, Oct. 21.

Incumbent Republican Russ Jehl is running unopposed in District 2, while Democrat Sharon Tucker is running unopposed in District 6, thus no endorsements for those.

We are offering you our honest opinions and best judgments after studying the issues and talking to the candidates as well as evaluating the work of our politicians throughout the year. Almost all the candidates we’ve interviewed are knowledgeable, involved and passionate about this city. But we’ve picked those we think would do the best job while most closely adhering to the values of readers our editorial policies represent.

Are we telling you how to vote?

“But of course we’re trying to tell you how to vote,” Morris wrote in that column in 2014. “So are a lot of other people. It’s your job to sort through all those opinions and decide which ones, if any, deserve to be taken seriously. In the end, it’s your opinion that counts, so you should get information from as many sources as you can in reaching it.”

That’s my point as well. Read our endorsements. Read those from the Journal Gazette. Do your homework. Then make up your mind who you want to vote for before you go to the polls.

– Kerry Hubartt is former editor of The News-Sentinel.


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