Gearing up for a long campaign season

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The silly season is about to kick in. Voters in Iowa caucus on Monday and, eight days later, New Hampshire holds the first primary in the nation. Candidates will work very hard to say as many words as possible without actually saying anything meaningful. The likelihood is they will spend more time criticizing their opponents than they will extolling their own virtues and giving voters a reason to choose them – other than being the best of the worst possible choices.

In Person County, we don’t go to the polls until March 3, but that’s a full two months earlier than normal.

In a state that is fairly purple – meaning voters like some Democrats and some Republicans – the earlier primary figures to make North Carolina a state candidates will want to invest some time in.

And while all the national elections swirl around us at the 30,000-foot level, there are some local races of note, too. Three seats on the county commission are up for election. Two of the men sitting in those seats – Ray Jeffers and Gordon Powell – are running to keep their seat on the board of county commissioners, but there will be at least one new face on the county board after this year’s elections because incumbent Jimmy Clayton has chosen not to seek re-election.

With three candidates running in the Republican primary and two running in the Democratic primary, that means all five candidates will advance through the March primary and into the general election in November. Turnout in that election will undoubtedly be high because the presidency is up for re-election along with the North Carolina governor’s seat and one of our two U.S. Senate seats.

But as candidates parade around Person County over the next 10 months, I’m interested in what voters really care about.

Is immigration really a big issue for you? What about the quality of education your children or grandchildren are receiving? Are you more concerned with taxes and what the government does with your money when it takes it?

Perhaps there is some other issue on your mind.

Whatever it is, I’d be interested in hearing about it.

As candidates for state offices come to Person County, we plan to be there and talk to them about issues of importance to voters in Person County.

And as candidates for county commissioner begin to ramp up their campaigns around Labor Day, we want to ask them about the issues that are of concern to you.

So send me a note. You can email at johnnywhitfield@roxboro-courier.com. You can mail me a note at PO Box 311, Roxboro NC 27573. Tell me what the number one issue is that will affect your vote. I don’t need to know where you stand on that issue. I just want to know what the issue is. We’ll ask candidates about the things that we see come up repeatedly among voters.

And, remember, in the spirit of good citizenship, don’t bother sending me questions about issues that impact just one candidate. If your issue is why we should elect Joe Biden when his son is sitting on the board of some Ukranian company, I’m going to toss that question. If you ask me why you should vote for Donald Trump in the wake of an impeachment hearing, I’m going to toss that question to.

Elections should be about issues, whether they are local issues like property tax rates or public school funding, or whether they are national issues like gun control or immigration. And that’s what I want to hear about from you, dear reader.

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