Elections should be decided on candidates merits not party loyalty

The United States is the leading democracy in the entire world, even when our citizens find themselves reeling with conflicting deep emotions that might bring out our worst divisive behavior. Currently we appear to be living in one of those conflicted moments in history. Proof of this can be viewed daily as we watch the TV news, read newspapers or absorb current events online.

In politics we are finding a failure in the governing process, and for several years there has been a real absence of commonality in our congressional houses. The next generation of Americans may come to only know this divided behavior by Congress as the new norm. Our children and grandchildren deserve better.

Clearly our government has many pressing issues that need to be addressed, and most elected officials are not truly governing with the future in mind. My take on the situation is nobody really has all the answers to fix every urgent problem. We do, however, have an ability to make governing change if we focus on the common goal of having decisions made together. Ideas and concepts must be shared in open and honest discussions, with the best ideas gaining favor by a majority of people before implementing them.

As we approach the 2018 midterm elections for the federal, state and county offices we will have some extremely energized voters with strong deep emotions, and unfortunately, we may witness some cruel behavior by some individuals. With enormous amounts of money pouring into political campaigns and the need of some for power, it may not be a proud moment for our children to witness.

I would like to share a few thoughts as we go forward. The old saying that politics start locally is by far the best practice for any politician to consider. Here is why: As conscientious voters we care about the overall impact government has on our families and the effect that the making of new laws will have on our lives. It doesn’t matter if it is at the federal, state, county or municipal government level; we are impacted by the changes of many new laws.

For now, I will focus on Hancock County, which represents a typical rural Indiana county and one where we currently have a singular dominant governing political party (the Republican Party). It is noteworthy that in other parts of the country and some areas of our state the Democratic Party has dominance as well.

Residents with innovative ideas wishing to share these as a candidate for local office will need to make some tough decisions while faced with an unbalanced political party system.

Anyone entertaining thoughts of running for a local office might want to consider how best to achieve success. Does one run on the dominant party ticket, no matter their personal political views, or will their ideas resonate with voters without regard to political party preference? I sincerely hope we have open-minded voters in Hancock County who will consider giving every candidate an opportunity to share their ideas.

Candidates must also decide how to best spend their money in both the primary and general election.

When local government is of one party and lacking any input from another political party, its residents are sadly disenfranchised. Hancock County residents deserve vibrant and competitive elections with two or more political parties.

I accepted the position of Hancock County Democratic Party chair because I believe in the people who live and work in Hancock County. There is little doubt we are best served when government transparency happens with accountability within a good two-party system. Only then will we begin to see a bright light begin to focus on our government officials at every level.

It is important to note residents can file to run for local offices beginning Jan. 10, 2018, at the Hancock County Election Office in the courthouse.

My challenge to all Hancock County residents: Register to vote if you have not already done so. It would be great if the Hancock County voter turnout would record the highest percentage of registered voters in the state, and that is very achievable.

Randy Johnson of Greenfield is the current Hancock County Democratic Chair. He can be reached at [email protected]. Send comments to [email protected].