What a whirlwind it was. Now that the dust has settled on Election 2018, I look back with appreciation for all I learned and observed about our government and legislative process. The voter turnout was great — over 10 percent increase from the 2014 midterm election. That is something our county can be proud of. We need, however, to put that into perspective that we had only 50 percent voter turnout. There is still work to be done for all of us to realize that our vote is our voice.
In the hundreds of conversations I had with people throughout our county, some said “I don’t vote — it doesn’t make any difference.” “I don’t get into politics.” “Politics doesn’t affect me.”
My response to them was always the same: “Do you like good roads? That’s politics. Do you like your local restaurant to serve beer with your pizza? That’s politics. Do you like the snow cleared off your roads? That’s politics. Do you want your children or grands to get a good education? That’s politics.” “It is important for every citizen to make their voice heard regarding the selection of those who make decisions about all those things that effect even the most mundane aspects of our daily lives. That’s the beauty and responsibility of democracy.
And speaking of democracy, I have a new appreciation for the value of an unhindered and neutral press. The media, in all its varied forms, holds great power in influencing public opinion. It is a privilege never to be taken lightly.
In a few short weeks, a new year will be upon us. Make it your New Year’s resolution to learn more about candidates, register to vote if you aren’t, and vote every election.
Jan L. Douglass