Get educated before heading to polls in November

It’s hard to believe that in a mere 10 months the mid-term elections will be taking place in this country.

That may seem like a long time away, but it will pass quickly and people should start paying attention to the candidates that will be running for office in November. There have been many times in the past where the phrase “the world is run by those who show up” has been used in this column and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to these particular elections.

People need to realize that the ballot box is the one opportunity where they truly have a say in the course taken in this city, state and nation. Nothing is more discouraging than to hear the words from someone who is complaining about a particular elected official and then to hear them say they didn’t bother to vote in the previous election.

Many will scoff at the idea that every vote makes a difference, but it does. Not only locally, but in state and national elections as well.

What makes it even more vital to vote in November is the direction this state and country take in the next two years will be determined by those elections. So if you stay home, then don’t complain about anything that starts or continues happening in January 2019.

However, voting is just half of the procedure. The more important aspect of it is to be an informed voter and to have a clear and open mind when looking at the candidates and the issues.

Read information on where all candidates stand on the issues, and more importantly, see which ones care enough to show up in this area asking for your vote. Do you really think a candidate that doesn’t come here to campaign or to actually hear your concerns first hand will care one iota about us if they get elected? Not very likely.

Hearing them explain where they stand on an issue in person is often much different than reading some glossy literature put together by a public relations firm that was paid lots of money to make them look good. PR firms will represent the client on whatever fake news they want to blurt out as long as they getting paid to do so. They have no interest if the candidate or issue is best for all the people — it’s all about the money.

If you really want to see a candidate squirm ask them at a public forum if they are willing to go against their political party if they feel the issue is the best interest of their district.  Remember we are looking for people to represent our district and not their political party.

Many politicians today are nothing more than old-time carpet baggers who don’t really live in the district in the first place. They are backed by political parties to run for these offices. Suddenly they have purchased a home (or cabin) in the district to gain residence and are running for office even though they never held a job or really lived here.

Second question to ask to watch them squirm is if they plan to live in the district after they leave office. If they waiver even slightly, you know they don’t care about our district and all they want to do is serve in that office and be a puppet for their political party. We don’t need people like that, as it is more important to have someone who has a real passion for this area and really does call it home.

It’s the same with any ballot issues that may be coming up in November. Look carefully at what is being asked and then read as much non-partisan information that you can find on the subject to get an unbiased opinion. Television advertisements often prove their bias in the small print at the bottom of the screen. Many times the people paying for those commercials have a distinct financial or political gain from that  candidate or issue.

Let’s face the facts which are quite simply it’s your county, state and country. By voting, it gives you a say in those things and how they are run.

So if you aren’t a registered voter, do so as soon as possible. If you hear about a candidate or issue in November start checking them out now and don’t wait until one day before the election to try and find out details.

Hopefully, everyone will start the process of getting educated on the candidates and issues by the time I…see you next Wednesday.



Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at

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