September 25, 2023

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Honest Answers are Needed

With Lawrence primary elections assured for positions on the Lawrence City Commission and Lawrence Board of Education, Lawrence citizens deserve a good, solid, honest understanding of what each candidate stands for.

Voters should know how each candidate plans to vote on major issues before the election rather than to find out after the election. The true goals, intentions and beliefs of the winning candidates should be known.

The public deserves more than a bland pledge of “I want to make Lawrence a better community for all citizens,” or “I want to continue to make sure we have a wonderful school system for all our young people.”

Major issues are facing Americans in cities of all sizes throughout the country. Far too many times candidates tell one story to attract voters during their campaigns but expose a far different philosophy when they move into public office.

If the Journal-World plans to compile a complete voter profile on each city commission and school board candidate, there should be specific questions about why each individual is seeking a position on either body and his or her stance on current controversial subjects.

First, does the candidate have a deep commitment to the United States Constitution? This may seem like a silly question but in recent months there have been growing numbers of elected officials who question or wish to modify the Constitution.

For city commissioners, do they support free speech, a free press, a right to bear arms and freedom of religion?

What is their position on the actions of some in city governments around the country to reduce and defund fiscal support for local law enforcement programs? What would candidates favor relative to the Lawrence Police Department and even the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department? A reduction of officers on the street?

For city commission candidates, how do they define or balance equity, diversity and ability when considering candidates for city positions?

For school board candidates, do they favor continuing the standard educational program for Lawrence students K-12, or do they intend to adopt the controversial “critical race theory” and/or the “counter culture” movement?

These are basic questions voters should have answered BEFORE the elections.

Now is not the time for voters to wear blinders. The news media has a responsibility to present honest and factual information on each candidate. Voters should be confident on how their favorite candidate will vote on major issues.

There should not be any “buyer or voter remorse” after the election. In partisan elections there is no offer or guarantee to “return to sender” if a winning candidate does not measure up to his or her campaign pledges.

The proven adage of “buyer beware” is just as true in the often raw and dirty game of politics and elections as it is in the highly competitive private retail business.

In fact, it is even more important in the political arena.