Smart voting requires good information

Published 8:51 pm Saturday, September 27, 2014

Suffolk has one of its biggest elections in recent memory coming in November. From the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives races to the City Council and School Board races, voters in Suffolk will be choosing from a total of 24 different candidates, though voters in each of the city’s boroughs will have a different mix of those candidates appearing on their respective ballots.

At the Senate level, all Suffolk voters will choose from among incumbent Democrat Mark R. Warner, Republican Ed W. Gillespie and Libertarian Robert C. Sarvis. For the Fourth District House of Representatives seat, incumbent J. Randy Forbes faces opposition from Democrat Elliott G. Fausz and Libertarian Bo C. Brown.

But the real tangle is at the municipal level, where the only unchallenged incumbents are Chuckatuck Borough City Councilman Mike Duman, and School Board members Lorraine B. Skeeter and Enoch C. Copeland, from the Cypress and Holy Neck boroughs, respectively.

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At the City Council level, incumbent Vice Mayor Charles F. Brown faces opposition from Leroy Bennett and Clinton L. Jenkins in the Cypress Borough; incumbent Councilman Jeffrey L. Gardy faces a challenge from Tim Johnson in the Holy Neck Borough; and incumbent Charles D. Parr Sr. faces challengers Donald Z. Goldberg and Kerry B. Holmes in the Suffolk Borough.

At the School Board level, incumbent Linda W. Bouchard is challenged by Dorothy Bland Gamble in the Chuckatuck Borough; Jim E. Perkinson Jr., Charles D. Leavell and David P. Mitnick face off in a special election in the Sleepy Hole Borough; and incumbent Michael J. Debranski faces a challenge from Thelma V. Hinton in the Suffolk Borough.


It’s a lot for voters to keep straight, and there are a lot of new names to the political arena represented on that list.

We’ll help folks get to know their candidates with a comprehensive slate of pre-election coverage beginning on Wednesday, when we publish the first of a month-long series of election stories, columns and features designed to make sure that the people of Suffolk have ample opportunities to learn about the people in search of their votes.

We’ll begin the series Wednesday with stories about the Chuckatuck Borough School Board candidates, and we’ll follow them with a story about the unopposed Chuckatuck City Council candidate on Sunday. That will set up a rotating series of Wednesday and Sunday stories focusing on School Board and City Council races, respectively. We’ll hit the boroughs alphabetically, so you can expect the Cypress Borough stories next, followed by the Holy Neck, Sleepy Hole and Suffolk boroughs cycling through each week.

We also plan to allow each of the candidates space on the Opinion Page to briefly make their case for election. That schedule has not been set yet, but we’ll notify our readers so they’ll know to be on the lookout for the candidates that pertain to them.

Finally, the week before the election, we’ll allow candidates brief responses to a few specific questions, and we’ll compile and publish those answers, along with brief biographical information about each of the candidates, in a special part of the paper.

All of this information will also be posted online, so it will be available right up until the election.

It’s a good thing when there is a spirited competition for democratically elected government positions. It’s even better when the electorate is well informed about the competitors. We intend to do our part to make sure the people of Suffolk have as much information as possible in order to make the best decisions for their city.