It's the rest of the elections that I am addressing in this post. In particular, I want to encourage each and every one of you to read the Voters Pamphlet. (If you don't have one for some reason, pick up a free copy from any post office or download one from the State of Oregon and Deschutes County.)
Living in Oregon, you'd have to be hiding under a rock to avoid the nasty negative ads floating between Jeff Merkley (D) and Gordon Smith (R-incumbent). Recently the Smith campaign also launched negative ads attacking the Constitution Party's candidate, Dave Brownlow. The ads claim he is "too liberal" and cite several of Brownlow's positions. However, I clearly recall an explicit vow in his candidate's statement: "End the senseless slaughter of the unborn." Whether I agree with this position or not... does that sound like a liberal viewpoint to you?
These candidate statements are important, people. It's like their job application, and they are telling you why you should choose them over their opponents. They are either written by the candidate themselves, or by someone running their campaign. Granted, most of their photos are scary mugshots, especially when printed at a low quality on recycled newsprint. Please don't base your vote on the photos alone. You should read the statements, and consider whether you think it is appropriate for the candidate to lead. And not just the words - take a look the style and formatting of the statement. DOES THE CANDIDATE SHOUT AT YOU FROM THE PAGE? Is the entire statement (or most of it) in bold? Or is it fairly well-organized? Does their statement portray them as educated, professional, and serious enough to make decisions for your city, county, state, or country?
Consider the following examples...
- Tell Greg Walden you're sick of his ship by jumping aboard "Noah's Ark"
- Occupational Background: a variety of jobs
- the burocratic (sic) processes
- 12th grade last grade completed.
- University of Oregon, Attended <1 year.
- Occupational Background: N/A
- University of Oregon; grade 16
When it comes time to fill out my ballot I might still vote for someone even if I find fault with their candidate statement. But at least when I fill in that bubble I will feel that I have done my homework and made a good decision.
I hope that you will make a similar commitment to actually read about the candidates and their views on the issues, and then cast your vote based on an informed opinion. And if you ever happen to run for public office that you will consider the voters - your potential employers - when writing your candidate statement.
What are you waiting for? Go vote... NOW!