The Paper favors the incumbents in Tuesday's Primary Election
Tuesday, May 01, 2012 10:00 PM
It used to be a rule in politics that being the incumbent was a distinct advantage. In today's world? Not so much.
However, in most races this year The Paper believes the best choice lies with the incumbents. For years, this newspaper and a great deal of the community have been pleading for progress along economic development lines. It seems that this year that is actually beginning to happen. For that reason, we believe it would be the wrong time to bring in newcomers and start the learning process all over.
The following paragraphs offer our views on who we believe are the best choices to earn the top vote in Tuesday's Primary. However, we hope that regardless of which way voters lean that they will in fact exercise their duty and their right on Tuesday and get out to vote. It is the American thing to do.
Four Republican At-Large candidates are running for three seats, challenger Tracy Budd and incumbents Aaron Morgan, Michael Plant and Tom Utley. Mr. Budd, who is retiring from the military, may well be a good candidate in the future, but he has not come up with a strong platform to persuade voters to cast their vote his way. In fact, during a recent debate he offered his praise to the three incumbents and commented on what a good job they have done.
It's a fair point.
Morgan, Plant and Utley do not see eye to eye on everything. But they do all seem to be in step with the idea that Montgomery County needs to work harder and show results in the arena of economic development. Since January, strong steps have been made in this regard and it would seem folly to change that now.
The Paper believes Morgan, Plant and Utley should be returned to continue the economic development work they've started.
There are two races for voters to choose from. In District 1, incumbent Terry Hockersmith faces challenger but longtime political observer and activist Deanna Durrett. In District 3, incumbent Phil Bane squares off against newcomer David Christensen.
In The Paper's view, one decision is easy and the other is not.
Phil Bane deserves the opportunity to return as the commissioner. The well-known agribusinessman has done a good job since taking office and offers this county strong and honest leadership. Like any politician, voters may not always agree with him, but he is a straight shooter. Christensen appears to also be a good, forthright and honest man. However, he has offered little in terms of plans except to say that there is a small group in the courthouse making decisions for everyone. He's right. There is but a tiny percentage of people who hold elected office and they do make decisions for the rest of us. The Founding Fathers actually set it up that way. The hope was that citizens would be involved in the process and public debate would give those elected few a good feel for the public sentiment. Sadly, most government meetings have, at the very most, a small handful of non-elected people in attendance. It's our view that Bane is an easy choice.
The other race between Durrett and Hockersmith isn't.
Voters will not have a hard time deciding if it boils down to style. Hockersmith is anything but a typical politician. He prefers bib overalls to sport coat and tie. Durrett is the epitome of business professional.
They are both equally passionate.
They are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to issues like planning and zoning. They disagree on Ivy Tech.
Voters can't go wrong either way.
This boils down to a few simple facts. While planning and zoning has long been a puzzling hot button in this community, the momentum for enacting it is as strong as it has been in some years, if not ever. Hockersmith clearly opposes the zoning side of the equation. Durrett does not. It seems likely that if Durrett is elected, at least a majority if not all three commissioners might be in support of moving forward with some sort of planning and zoning. Hockersmith's voice of dissent would be lost if that were to happen.
Is having that dissenting opinion of value to voters? Dissenting opinions have a long and proud tradition, as well as a valued place, in this nation of ours.
On the other hand, few could argue that anyone prepares more and does more homework than Durrett. Her work with Montgomery County's troubled drainage system was beyond admirable.
This very newspaper nominated her for the statewide Frank O'Bannon Sunshine Award, an honor that recognizes citizens who help shine the spotlight on open government. Durrett not only was nominated but was presented the tribute from the late governor's wife, Judy O'Bannon just last year.
In this race, there are two quality choices who are very different. It should make the choice easy depending on what each voter values. The Paper believes that this boils down to which candidate best represents what the voters want.
Recorder & Clerk
We again believe that the incumbents have done their jobs and run their departments well. We encourage voters to send them back for another term in office. The Paper reminds voters that the courthouse scandal from earlier this year had nothing to do with these candidates. Our newsroom performed a check of various e-mails from different office holders and found absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.
Good things have been happening with the city and county this year. We believe that it's the wrong time to rock the boat. We'd like to see Clerk Jennifer Bentley and Recorder Kathy Traughber returned to office.