Archived Story

Local candidate should prepare to lead

Published 11:09am Thursday, August 30, 2012

Daily Herald editorial

If our local candidates aren’t hitting the books and learning about the elected office they’re trying to win, they better start soon.

With election season in high gear, soon local media will be glutted with political news and candidate debates. That means local candidates who made it past the primary election will have to answer tough questions on how they will best serve the city, school or county district they want to represent.

It will not be enough for an Austin Public Schools candidate to campaign on how successful a parent they are, or how the school board needs more citizen perspective. If a candidate can’t explain how the state of Minnesota disenfranchised education by owing school districts $2 billion last year, or know how much of a budget deficit the school district is projecting next year, then it’s fair to question whether that candidate can do the job.

If an Austin City Council candidate doesn’t know how much the city receives in Local Government Aid, or can’t explain how they would prioritize city services, then it’s fair to question whether that candidate can do the job.

If a county commissioner candidate can’t explain why a health and human services merger with other counties is a good idea, as well as how much it could potentially save Mower County’s taxpayers, then it’s fair to question whether that candidate can do the job.

Granted, it’s difficult for candidates new to politics to get up to speed on the complex issues and bureaucracy that governs the decisions which affect taxpayers. That’s no excuse for a candidate who’s trying to convince people why he or she is fit to lead them. In a time when public perception of government is at its nadir, our candidates, who may become our elected officials, should be held to a higher standard, and should be prepared to lead should voters elect to give them the job.

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