Newspapers, including this one, have traditionally endorsed candidates ahead of elections. Newspaper staff tend to pay close attention to candidates, giving us a view of politics that is more in-depth than that of your average voter. Reporters try to share as much information as possible with our readers, and management of the paper will evaluate candidates and make a reasonable argument as to why one might be better than another in the position for which they are running.
We are, however, not in a typical time when it comes to politics, even at the local non-partisan level. We find that many of our readers are less receptive to an endorsement of any kind — no matter how well reasoned it may be.
So, instead of an endorsement, we ask Kenai Peninsula Borough voters to do this on Tuesday: Vote with your head.
Too much of politics has been reduced to gut reactions. We tend to decide how we’re voting before we know what the candidate actually stands for, or what the impacts of a particular proposition will be.
We’ve been fortunate in the current election to have a slate of very good candidates, many of whom bring significant experience in public service to the campaign. The borough budget has emerged as the top issue, and candidates’ statements on how they would address the budget have, in our view, contained much more substance than in other elections.
We think that’s a good thing. It gives voters the opportunity — we’d say responsibility — to consider candidates on their merits.
A quick rundown of candidates on the ballot:
— Dale Bagley, Linda Farnsworth Hutchings and Charlie Pierce are running for borough mayor.
— In Kenai Peninsula assembly races, Brent Hibbert and Dan Castimore are running for the District 1-Kalifornsky seast; Hal Smalley and Duane Bannock are running for the District 2-Kenai seat; Norm Blakeley and Leslie Morton are running for the District 5-Sterling/Funny River seat; Kenn Carpenter is running for the District 6-East Peninsula seat; and Kelly Cooper is running for the District 8-Homer seat.
— For the Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education, Joe Arness and Jason Tauriainen are running for the District 3-Nikiski seat; Penny Vadla is running for the District 4-Soldotna seat; and Debbie Cary is running for the District 7-Central seat.
— In Kenai, Henry Knackstedt, Bob McIntosh and Tim Navarre are running to fill two seats on the Kenai City Council. Kenai voters can vote for two candidates.
— In Soldotna, Nels Anderson is running for mayor; Tyson Cox is running for Seat B; and Keith Baxter is running for Seat F.
If you’re not sure where your candidates stand, you can find their answers to the Clarion’s questionnaire and submitted opinion piece that we’ve run over the past week at www.peninsulaclarion.com.
So, take some time between now and Tuesday to think about the candidates and propositions. Then, on election, day, go cast an informed vote.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.