Ques­tions for new can­di­dates

The Weekly Vista - - Editorial & Opinion - May­lon Rice May­lon Rice is a for­mer jour­nal­ist who worked for sev­eral northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at maylontrice@ya­hoo.com. The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

In pre­par­ing for 2018, a po­lit­i­cal year in Arkansas, there seem to be a plethora of new, fresh faces ea­ger to an­nounce they are run­ning for po­lit­i­cal of­fice in 2018.

So, who are these peo­ple? And, more im­por­tantly, what ex­actly do they stand for and hope to ac­com­plish?

The up­com­ing po­lit­i­cal year will see all 100 seats in the Arkansas House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives up for re-elec­tion; there will be at least 10 and maybe up to 12 of the 35 state Se­nate seats on var­i­ous bal­lots around the state.

All seven of the con­sti­tu­tional of­fices (gover­nor, lieu­tenant gover­nor, sec­re­tary of state, et al) are up for vot­ers to de­cide who to re­new and who to re­move from of­fice. Plus, there are county judges, sher­iffs and all the as­sorted county of­fices and mem­bers of the lo­cal quo­rum courts to de­cide.

But let us not fo­cus so much on the of­fices open for these elec­tions but on the an­nounced can­di­dates out there.

And please, gen­tle read­ers, fo­cus on the word “an­nounced” can­di­dates.

Each and ev­ery elec­tion cy­cle, there are many new gen­er­a­tional politi­cians from the gen­er­a­tions af­ter all of us baby boomers (born be­tween 1945 and 1965) who seem to think it is OK to an­nounce for a po­lit­i­cal of­fice and then lose in­ter­est and not file the pa­per­work and pay the re­quired fees. Well, it is not.

Many of these an­nounced can­di­dates are still buoyed by the 2016 elec­tion re­sults or an­gered by those same re­sults.

Noth­ing dis­ap­points me more than to hear an “an­nounced” can­di­date, say for a seat in the Arkansas House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives down in Lit­tle Rock, talk mostly about fed­eral is­sues that can only be taken care of in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

One can­di­date for the state House re­cently spoke of want­ing to “stop the ef­forts to re­peal Oba­macare.” An­other wanted ev­ery­one to know he fa­vored the Sec­ond Amend­ment. Those are fed­eral is­sues — is­sues that are not typ­i­cally on the leg­isla­tive plate for state Rep­re­sen­ta­tives go­ing down to Lit­tle Rock to serve the district back home.

That brings me to a sim­ple set of ques­tions you as vot­ers should ask all these an­nounced can­di­dates in the next elec­tion cy­cle:

• Do you cur­rently have a job? Or is run­ning for of­fice, your next full-time em­ploy­ment op­tion?

• Are you ac­tu­ally plan­ning to file as a can­di­date and have you raised suf­fi­cient funds to run a po­lit­i­cal race?

• Where in the district do you ac­tu­ally live? Are you fa­mil­iar with all the cities, towns and com­mu­ni­ties in the leg­isla­tive district you seek to rep­re­sent?

• What jobs have you held out­side of run­ning for elec­tive of­fice?

• Have you been vot­ing on city, school, re­gional and county is­sues over the last few years? How long have you been a “reg­u­lar” voter?

• Tell me, as a com­plete stranger, why I should send you down to Lit­tle Rock to be my state rep­re­sen­ta­tive or state se­na­tor?

• Have you hired a po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant and do you have other “paid” pro­fes­sion­als on your cam­paign staff?

• Have you given any thought to the time and ef­fort that it takes to be a state rep­re­sen­ta­tive or state se­na­tor?

• Be­fore I give you a pledge to con­sider you for my vote; can you tell me to whom you have in the past pledged your votes in pre­vi­ous cam­paigns and why you wanted those par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­u­als to win?

• And lastly, have you been ac­tive in your lo­cal po­lit­i­cal party and how long have you been ac­tive in pol­i­tics?

Maybe if more ques­tions were asked be­fore vot­ing, we might not have so many elected of­fi­cials that strangely get into of­fice and truly don’t have a clue as to what they are do­ing?

Po­lit­i­cal sea­son is just around the cor­ner.

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