With midterm elections a month away, campaigns are now in full swing.
Are you ready to cast your vote Nov. 4, this year? Have you decided whom to vote for? How well do you know the candidates? What do they stand for? What's their platform on issues pertinent to unemployment, poverty, illiteracy, obesity, school dropouts, crime and so on? Will you vote your conscience or party affiliation?
Suffolk voters will choose candidates in Senate and House of Representatives races, as well as members of the City Council and School Board.
It's that time of year when candidates are busy reaching out to the electorate with their best rhetoric and promises.
We are bombarded with political ads everywhere. Some of the campaign ads are getting nasty, confusing and downright misleading. Political pundits are commenting on the various candidates and journalists are interviewing and profiling candidates.
Of course, money plays a major role in politics. The more money politicians raise, the more political ads they can buy. Here in Suffolk, VA, the Suffolk News-Herald reported on Sept. 21 that, in the City Council race, three challengers had outpaced incumbents in campaign fundraising and spending.
But more money raised does not necessarily translate to more votes.
We need to be informed about the candidates and their take on issues pertinent to community challenges. We need to know the facts and the truth before we decide who gets our votes. There is still (ample) time to do your research.
If we want our government to be responsive to our needs, we have to elect the candidates who will put public interest first, rather than personal welfare.
As responsible voters, we must do our part to become informed and educated. Do your homework to learn the facts and don't rely on hearsay. Read everything you can about the candidates running in your area. Don't just vote for a candidate because he or she looks appealing; learn about his or her stands on the issues, and get to know a little about their background and accomplishments.
And don't forget, your vote counts.
-Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk, VA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Published in the Opinion page of the award-winning Suffolk News-Herald, Saturday, October 4, 2014. Visit www.suffolknewsherald.com, for more information.