Time for sub­stance

Cecil Whig - - OPINION -

Now that the 2016 Pri­mary Elec­tion has come and gone, you can al­most feel the sigh of relief that has been let go.

It has been a whirl­wind few months and an even more fran­tic cou­ple weeks as com­pet­ing can­di­dates tried to get en­dorse­ments, press cov­er­age and, ul­ti­mately, votes. Pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates like Don­ald Trump, Bernie San­ders and John Ka­sich, along with sur­ro­gates such as for­mer President Bill Clin­ton stand­ing in for his wife, Hil­lary, have brought the mes­sage di­rectly to Mary­lan­ders try­ing to sway vot­ers as they chase all-im­por­tant na­tional con­ven­tion del­e­gates.

Lo­cally, while we have cer­tainly spent a good amount of time cov­er­ing the public moves of can­di­dates for county ex­ec­u­tive, county coun­cil and board of education, the public con­scious­ness hasn’t been as great.

De­spite fre­quent cov­er­age over the first three months of the year, many were still telling us that the public didn’t un­der­stand that the Repub­li­can pri­mary de­ter­mined both open Ce­cil County Coun­cil seats. Some Democrats who head to polls in Novem­ber will be dis­ap­pointed to find that they have no can­di­date to put for­ward to those of­fices. Other un­af­fil­i­ated vot­ers said they were not aware that they could have par­tic­i­pated in the non-par­ti­san board of education races.

Un­for­tu­nately, vot­ers have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to stay in­formed, un­der­stand what’s at stake and learn about the can­di­dates in the run­ning.

The short time­frame for the pri­mary elec­tion cer­tainly didn’t help, as can­di­dates had un­til early Fe­bru­ary to file with the elec­tion just weeks away at that point. The re­sult was that the pri­mary elec­tion felt more like a mad dash than a drawn-out af­fair. That many of the can­di­dates on Tues­day’s bal­lot waited un­til the last few days to file, short­en­ing the amount of time that vot­ers had to get to know them, also ex­ac­er­bated the prob­lem.

At re­cent fo­rums, can­di­dates fielded ques­tions about po­si­tions and al­ways re­sponded. But we couldn’t help but feel like we were just skim­ming the bare sur­face of who these can­di­dates were.

Sure they sup­port the Sec­ond Amend­ment, but what would they do as a county coun­cil mem­ber to fur­ther the rights of lo­cal firearm own­ers?

Of course they don’t sup­port higher taxes — even a Demo­crat wouldn’t openly ad­mit to that — but what would they do to en­sure new rev­enue is be­ing pro­duced for the county? What could they do with­out in or­der to cut ex­penses?

We don’t doubt that they all sup­port happy, healthy pets, but how would they specif­i­cally ad­dress an­i­mal care and con­trol in Ce­cil County?

One of the things we’ve been most frus­trated with at the na­tional level dur­ing this elec­tion cy­cle is the lack of any real Trump, the Repub­li­can fron­trun­ner, has spent more time talk­ing about his huge crowds and op­po­nents than he has about any­thing he plans to do as president. He has re­peat­edly talked about how he will build a wall sep­a­rat­ing Amer­ica from Mex­ico, but when he’s pressed on how he would make that hap­pen, he falls silent.

What we can do here at home, how­ever, is pro­duce sub­stan­tive dis­course about how our lead­ers in­tend to move Ce­cil County for­ward, how we can im­prove our fi­nan­cial po­si­tion and how we can en­sure that all res­i­dents and busi­ness own­ers have the best op­por­tu­nity to suc­ceed as pos­si­ble.

We con­grat­u­late the win­ners of Tues­day’s pri­maries and hope that they will help to in­form vot­ers over the next six months so that when vot­ers re­turn to polls in Novem­ber, they will be as in­formed as pos­si­ble.

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