Meet John Doe: Take control of your local government and vote in the November election

Paul Gorski
Paul Gorski

By Paul Gorski

Please vote this fall — do not let a small group of vocal voters control the election this November.

Less than 20 percent of the registered voters in Winnebago County voted in the spring primary elections. Worse, less than 15 percent of the registered voters in Rockford cast a ballot in the primaries.

Primary voters decided some of the races. This means a small group of residents decided who is going to hold local office, or at least, advance to the next step in the election process.

I know many of you lack faith in politicians. This article started as a treatise on how lies and scandals affect our votes. However, the studies I found about the topic show we accept lies, or less than the full truth, from politicians as the norm. Why? We should insist that our elected leaders be capable public servants and as truthful as possible. An open and free political dialog between elected officials and their constituents is a foundation for our government.

My complaint with many politicians is not that they lie (I know many truthful politicians), but that some are lazy, or at best, are not as motivated as other politicians. So, seek out candidates who have experience doing their homework on important topics and those candidates who have a good record of following up on constituent requests. I suggest you stop voting for people just because you “like” them. I like many people, but I would not vote for many people I like. Sorry, no insult intended to my friends out there.

As in most elections, we have two general classes of elected officials: managers and legislators. Managerial or executive offices include: governor, attorney general, treasurer and sheriff, among others. These people are responsible for managing offices, large staffs and coordinating efforts between agencies. Then, there are the legislators: senators, congressional representatives, and county board members. Legislators are part of a larger political body. Despite the tendency to focus on the executives, the legislators control spending and are the ones who bring your issues to the forefront through legislation. I vote for my governor, but I talk to my legislators.

We have worthy candidates on the ballot this fall, and I have faith in many of these candidates. Now is the time to ask your questions of the candidates. Call their offices, visit their websites and ask your questions. Many candidates or their volunteers will be coming to your door very soon. Do not turn them away. Pull them inside and give them a list of your questions. Make them earn your vote.

Again, please vote this November. Voting is easy. The Rockford and Winnebago County election offices will be offering early voting and absentee voting in addition to regular Election Day voting. Follow The Rock River Times for early voting dates and times.

Paul Gorski (paul@paulgorski.com) is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.

From the Aug. 13-19, 2014, issue

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