The Aug. 7 primary is just over a week away. Amid the clamor of the contentious presidential race, it is easy for this important local election to get lost in the shuffle.
It was good to see the Great Bend League of Women Voters hold its candidates’ forum last week and it is good to see area residents who support the various candidates submit their letters to the editor. However, while there have been a few serious issues addressed, many have remained untouched.
The City of Great Bend and Barton County have weathered the recession rather well. Our unemployment rates have remained below the state average. Our housing market never really tanked. The oil patch is seeing a resurgence. The ag industry has done well, up until the current drought takes its toll.
Those running for office have lauded their experience, community involvement and family values. They’ve touted their integrity and dedication to service.
None the less, more sinister issues linger in the shadows. At the Barton County Commission meeting Monday morning, the county received praise for its fiscal standing. But, the accountants warned that, while the county is debt free, it has spent down its reserves.
Barton County mill levy has remain steady in recent years, but the accountants said a difficult budget year lies ahead. This could force of difficult choices for local leaders.
The county is not alone. We know where the state sits financially.
So, we as voters have to ask ourselves which candidates are best willing and able to tackle these tough decisions, some of which could be controversial. This is an election to pick those who will lead us, not a popularity contest.
Remember, when casting a ballot, the results of that action will have ramifications for years to come. This is an awesome responsibility and one that can’t be taken lightly.
The present is the time to think of the future.