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The Importance of Values in Local Political Campaigns

August 29th, 2009

political-campaign-values.jpgA long history of questionable tactics in politics can leave a bad taste in the potential voter’s mouth. However, voters must evaluate candidates for public office each year at different levels of local government, including boards and commissions of townships, school districts, water management districts, cities, and counties. When political campaigns are conducted the local level, it is important that the voters get to know the issues.

A local candidate is someone who voters can get to know by attending a local speech. News media coverage does not serve as the only source of voter decision making. When you consider who to vote for, the values that candidates represent are important. How about judging a person’s suitability for office based on a record of clean campaigning without dirty politics? Here are four questions to help you decide which candidate to support with your vote in the next local election.

  • Does he avoid character attacks against other candidates? While debate between candidates is healthy, candidates should not have to rely upon mudslinging to win the race. If your candidate is a mudslinger, it might raise a red flag regarding how he or she will conduct government while in office.
  • Do her actions speak louder than her words? People say more about what kind of values they represent when they are under pressure, oftentimes through actions rather than words. Consider a person’s record in public life. You cannot believe every report in the newspaper, but you can look for indicators (i.e. volunteer work and charities) of a candidate’s contributions in public life. If you get a chance to hear your candidate speak, try to evaluate her sincerity and other personal qualities based on nonverbal communication.
  • Does he have a strong voting record? If the candidate has ever held an elected office, research how he has voted on important issues. Look for votes on topics that affect your life, including local taxes, education, recreation, bond issues, environmental regulation, and other laws that matter to you.
  • Does she have democratic values? Some voters choose a candidate based on their own family values, including faith-based values. What about democratic values like the ones children are conditioned with in American schools? Look for a candidate’s ideas that support (or deny) principles such as equality under the law, equal opportunity in employment, the right to vote, the right to bear arms, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. In the local community, look for values on important issues, such as whether a candidate favors big business interests versus developing small businesses or protecting the environment versus developing more land.

Looking at personal values is an important way to make a decision about a local political candidate. You might not find someone whose values match all of your personal beliefs, but you might find a candidate with a good reputation for ethical and democratic decision making.

Related article: How to Organize a Political Campaign


Angela Baca is a teacher and freelance writer who has produced an impressive total of 683 articles and 396 sales at Constant Content.


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