Valley Record has long record of not endorsing candidates for office

Each year during the elections process, we at the Valley Record are asked who we will be endorsing as candidates in the various local races.

And in response, each year, we reiterate that at the Record, we believe it’s in the best interests of the voters to give them all the candidate information we can, and then let them decide for themselves.

In short, we do not endorse political candidates.

We haven’t endorsed a candidate in the last decade-plus.

We will not be changing that policy before the primary election, Aug. 1, for the simple reason that there’s not enough time left, with all the ballots mailed out and some already marked and returned, to give a fair and comprehensive review of all the primary candidates.

After Aug. 1, we’d like to hear from you on the subject.

Would a local endorsement be helpful to you when you go to fill out the ballot, or just so much more election campaign chatter?

There are valid points on either side of the endorsement argument.

In a conversation on political endorsements last year, I heard from several people who felt that a newspaper (or media outlet, since we are all online these days) was obligated, as a member of the community, to publicly support a candidate in each locally important race. The reasoning for us to make these endorsements was that, as a participant in all of the community’s other activities, we should take part however we could in the activity of voting, too.

On the other hand, there were those who cautioned against telling voters what to do, and what to think. And where, they ask, do we draw the line?

We at the Record tend to live in this camp. Is it cowardly, as some in the pro-endorsement camp have said? Are we just taking the easy way out by not risking the wrath of a candidate and all of his or her supporters?

Absolutely not. We believe in the democratic process, distorted as it has become with partisan politics since as long ago as I can remember. We firmly believe that the people will take their voting responsibility seriously and get informed, eventually if not now. Maybe it will happen in this primary, and maybe it will be months down the road, after they’ve lost something essential to their ability to sleep at night (think gun laws, the Affordable Care Act, or at a local level, development and traffic). But whenever it happens, for that next vote, we want those people to be able to put their own arguments and beliefs up against all challengers’ and to know what it means to win that argument, or to lose it.

But we’d like to hear from you. Our responsibility on this issue is to you, the readers, which is why, after much encouragement, we have begun considering a process and a panel to do candidate interviews, and possibly endorsements, in time for the general election.

Give us your thoughts. Send e-mail to me at editor@valleyrecord.com.

And thanks for doing your part in this process.

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