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Letter to the Editor: Voters should evaluate candidates carefully

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

The filing period for the upcoming City Council and mayoral election has come and gone and candidates are off and running. The criticism and misrepresentation of truth has begun.

To be clear, I have no objections to candidates criticizing their opponents for a factual lack of effectiveness. By the same token, I expect candidates to spell out their recommendations for new approaches that will benefit voters and the community they are vying to serve. Voters should not be expected to vote for candidates who offer only a platform of slogans and criticism.

Selecting a candidate should move beyond style to substance. A candidates’ position on issues of concern, coupled with leadership qualities, intelligence, honesty and communication skills should be of the upmost importance. In making a decision about leadership ability voters should look at the candidates’ background and experience. A candidate who has been sleeping under a rock and suddenly has a wakeup call with all the answers should give rise for voters to question the validity of the purported solutions.

Voters should not let themselves be side-tracked by inflammatory or unsubstantiated statements and innuendos that candidates may pass off as factual. Voters who do their homework will be in a position to challenge and reject candidates who engage in this kind of pandering. Voters should not get side-tracked by name calling, personal characteristics that have nothing to do with performance, loaded statements that do not clarify the claim or catchwords that are designed to trigger knee-jerk reactions.

It is important for voters to take heed when candidates make emotional appeals in order to gain their vote. Voters should learn to spot these manipulative techniques. In addition to emotional appeals, voters need to recognize distortion tactics like candidates baiting their opponents in an attempt to get them to fly off the handle, manufacturing phony issues and passing the blame while evading real issues. Another factor voters should not overlook is where candidates get the funds to finance their campaign. A candidates’ funding sources could very well influence their conduct in office.

It’s up to you, the voter, to evaluate the substance of the message, see through the maze and determine which candidate best addresses your concerns. Remember, “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is not” and “new is not always better.” Your vote can make the difference, so look carefully before you leap.

Gardenia B. Hobbs

Rocky Mount

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