Why endorse?

Published 10:19 pm Saturday, November 1, 2008

Suffolk News-Herald readers have been treated (or tortured, depending how you look at it) to our editorial board’s political endorsements over the past few days.

Like it or not, we’ve gone out on a limb and told our nearly 12,000 daily readers who we think ought to win your vote, your confidence, this Tuesday at the polls. We’ve offered endorsements for the School Board, City Council and mayoral races.

Whether you agree or disagree with our pick isn’t the most important part of the process. In fact, it is quite minute when you consider our intention. If we get you to read our endorsements, then we’ve done our job – we’ve got you thinking. The most important part of the political process for a voter is to get all the facts and have the opportunity to consider various views and opinions before casting his ballot.

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Newspapers, particularly newspapers in small communities, have a responsibility to lead and I believe part of our responsibility is to make political endorsements.

We approached this process recognizing how important this election is for Suffolk’s future. There have been problems in city government, with the turnover of key staff and an assessment debacle over the past couple of years that will forever be etched in taxpayers’ memories. But we believe that this election could begin to set things right again.

Many people — often journalists themselves — ask why a newspaper endorses political candidates. The answer is simple.

It is the newspaper’s responsibility to editorially advocate for action on certain issues. We are, and will continue to be, critical of city government and how it operates. And since we are going to chastise those in office when they act irresponsibly, we should, at the very least, offer our opinions on who gets elected in the first place.

Nowhere will you find us saying that we expect our readers to agree with or follow our endorsements. But we believe it is our right, and our responsibility, to step out and say who we think is the best person for each elected seat.

Whoever wins this election needs to have the backing of the entire community. We cannot make it through the difficult economic times we face without everyone working as a team.

We will not agree with every decision the next administration makes, and neither will voters. But we all have to work to do what is best for this community.