August 29, 2014

Local campaigns prepare to heat up

Don’t breathe that sigh of relief just yet.
The political engine isn’t out of steam, despite the end of the 2012 presidential election.
City council and school board races are gathering power as candidates are now throwing their hats into the ring.
To date, a handful of candidates have made their intentions to seek office known. In Spring Hill, current Mayor Mark Squires will run to keep his seat. And in Gardner, council member Chris Morrow will vie for Mayorship while newcomer Rob Shippy is interested on a seat on the USD 231 board of education.
Hold on to your hats. There will be more candidates, and many of the races will be contested.
In many communities, council and school board races are quiet affairs with little fanfare.
That’s rarely the case in Gardner, which four years ago saw more than $30,000 spent on council and mayoral campaigns.
This year, we expect school board races will be just as intense.
We’re looking forward to the debate, but dreading the vitriol that typically surrounds hard fought campaigns.
So before the campaign season truly heats up, we’d like to extend a few words of advice to candidates and supporters: Keep it clean and keep it honest.
There are plenty of issues to debate without digging too far into character. While we personally believe that character matters, we hope it will not be the centerpiece of any of the campaigns.
It’s easy to hop online and say nasty things about people running for the highest office in the land. After all, there probably aren’t many (if any) people in Gardner, Edgerton or Spring Hill that know the Obamas or the Romneys personally.
The same can’t be said for local candidates.
They have families and friends that attend school and church with you and your neighbors.
And even your closest friends and neighbors may differ with you on who to best lead the city and school district. That ill-timed negative comment may be directed at the wrong person.
That little filter that resides between your mouth and your brain or your keyboard and your brain may require an extra bit of strength this campaign season. So it’s time everyone start exercising a little restraint on the political vitriol in preparation for the upcoming campaign season.
The filing deadline approaches shortly after the holidays wrap, and before we know it, the primary election will be upon us in February.
The general election is in April. It’s time to start paying attention to what is occurring locally, but please, remember to flex that filter when needed.

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