Studying local politics is an eye-opening experience

Getting involved in politics and voting has been very interesting and eye opening. I’m not sure I would have taken the time to research candidates or study the ballot, if it weren’t for this job (blogging for Idaho Education News). Because all of my kids are in school, I have moments of free time during the day when I can sit at my computer (in peace) and learn. I am sorry that I didn’t educate myself sooner. Understanding voting and researching candidates is not nearly as difficult or boring as I thought it would be. I hope that my blog will encourage and inspire others, like me, to learn more and vote with confidence.

This week I furthered my education in politics, by going to a social hour and listening to a debate.

Social Hour: On Tuesday I attended a social hour for Go Lead, a non-profit organization that encourages women to become leaders. I attended the event because I support the mission and because the guest speaker, Betsy Russell, was speaking about the importance of becoming an informed voter. She shared some very interesting statistics about voters and voting. She said that less than a quarter of registered voters, actually get out and vote. Less than a quarter, wow. That means that the people who are in local office are chosen by a very small percentage of the population. Betsy encouraged the audience to get informed and seek information about the candidates from several sources (The Idaho Statesman, KTVB and Idaho Education News). She encouraged voters to go out and ask the candidates questions. Questions like, “why are you running for office,” and “what do you hope to accomplish?” I left the event with an even greater desire to learn all that I can about those running for office.   

Debate: I was not able to attend the superintendents debate at Boise State University, because it was at the same time as the social hour. I knew that it would be recorded and posted on Idaho Education News’ Facebook page, so I watched the video of the debate.  It was long (over an hour), but very informative.

Before I watched the video, I did not know very much about the candidates: Sherri Ybarra (R), Jeff Dillon (R), Cindy Wilson (D) or Allen Humble (D). I wasn’t even sure who I wanted to vote for. Watching the debate helped me better understand the goals and passions of those running for office. Ybarra was not able to attend the event, so I still need to make an effort to learn more about her.

The debate was super interesting. The candidates were each given opportunities to discuss their platform and vision for the job of superintendent. They were asked several questions — questions about school safety, the CTE program in rural schools, the 60 percent graduation goal, and bullying, just to mention a few.

If you feel passionate about education, or any of these topics, listen to the debate, research online, and ask questions. It will help you to decide who you want to vote for. It has for me.  

Melanie Flake

Melanie Flake

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