Opinion: On Endorsing Candidates

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 11/08/2012 - 00:42



Many people have asked why I endorsed candidates in local elections.

The simple answer is this: The Saline Post strives to be an advocate for the community.

That means promoting the good work done by local businesses and organizations, highlighting the achievement of the talented kids in our schools, covering the important issues facing the community and building relationships with people and organizations who are also advocating for the community.

Advocating for the community also involves weighing in on important community decisions – and many of those are made at the ballot box. Newspapers and news organizations have a long history of election endorsements. I realize there’s little value in doing something simply because it’s always done, so I researched the history of newspaper endorsements.  At the end of the day, for me, it came down to this:

People look for guidance on elections. People in Saline work as hard on their jobs and businesses as I do. They don’t have time to attend every meeting, read every news story, attend every forum and meet every candidate. So I know, from my conversations with people on local issues and national issues, that some people look are looking for input to help them make their decision.

For two years, I’ve spent countless hours watching local leaders debate issues. I’ve spent hundreds of hours in conversations with city leaders, city employees, school district leaders and school district employees, local business leaders, members of local groups, etc. My daily work gives me some insight into a lot of the issues facing the community. I hope people consider the Saline Post opinion like they would any other informed opinion, and weigh it in their calculus. The Saline Post’s comment system allows anybody to challenge our endorsement. And I’ve spent two weeks publishing letters to the editor from local residents who wish to endorse candidates. Any of those endorsements can be challenged in our comments.

The point of any of these endorsements is to offer advice and encourage dialogue, whether it’s on a website, in a coffee shop or around the kitchen table.

Endorsements can cause hard feelings. On a personal note, if you know me, then  you know it wasn’t easy to call a good man like Glenn Law after he’d lost to the candidate I endorsed.  But while

People I respect have told me I risked alienating people by offering my endorsements. That was certainly something I factored in my decision. But in many ways, this is no different than the person who puts the Marl or Law sign up in their front yard.

Starting today, I get back to covering city council, schools, and Saline Hornets sports. And when I cover local government and school board, I give everyone a fair shake and work to keep bias from clouding the facts.  

As The Saline Post project develops, “official” endorsements may or may not remain part of program. If the Post continues to endorse candidates there may be changes to the process.  I plan to have more conversations about the role of the Post in the coming months, as it’s my plan to ride the Saline Post where the community drives it.

Yesterday was a spirited, emotional day for Saline and all of America. But it’s history. Today, we move on.


Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of TheSalinePost.com. He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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