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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How to get involved in the election debate

The election season is in full swing with the primary coming up in just over a month on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

I suspect the turnout will be high, considering the number of local and national races that voters will be keeping track of.

Wisconsin's presidential primary may actually have some bearing on party nominees this year.

With Mitt Romney's win in Michigan Tuesday, the Republicans have three candidates (along with John McCain and Mike Huckabee) who have secured primary wins. It may take until the convention to settle that race.

The Democrats have both Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton with wins, and considering how things have gone, it's probably too early to count John Edwards out.

Locally, all county board seats will be contested for the first time in my memory. One of the motivations for reducing the number of seats on the board from 25 to 11 was to increase competition.

Consider the move a success on that score.

Before it's too late, here are some ground rules to help readers participate in the dialogue.

We won't print letters to the editor in the edition before the election. However, we'll allow letters on the Walworth County Politics blog on our Web site at any time.

Also, letters will be limited to 300 words to allow room to get all of them in.

We plan to focus on the Walworth County Board for our election coverage and plan several packages prior to both the primary and general elections.

A listing of candidates in other races can be found online at theweekextra.com

We've also received a variety of candidacy announcements in the last few weeks.

We've posted the complete announcements online at theweekextra.com, but to whet your appetite, here is an excerpt from each of the announcements:

"I am concerned that if the present trend in government spending continues, that may of the taxpayers will not be able to afford to live here. By electing the right kind of people, we can curb government's big appetite."~Supervisor Ann Lohrmann, running for Walworth County Board District 3.

"Norem has concerns about the direction of Walworth County regarding taxes, property owners' rights, as well as the transparency and accountability of our county board. Well planned economic development will be crucial for solving our increasing tax burden."~William Norem, running for Walworth County Board District 2.

"For the past six years, I have worked very hard to try and control spending, but unfortunately, I was in the minority."~Joseph Guido, running for Walworth County Board District 8.

"I believe in open and accessible government. My philosophy is we should make every effort to anticipate problems before a crisis occurs and to encourage early involvement by the public."~Supervisor Dan Kilkenny, running for Walworth County Board District 8.

"Easing the anxiety caused by the high cost of health care, promoting job growth, maintaining great schools and making higher education accessible and affordable are all priorities for me."~Debi Towns, running for state assembly in the 43rd District.

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