Candidates must be vetted thoroughly

To the Journal editor:

It’s election season. Our inboxes ae being flooded with polished, focus-group tested claims about how great the candidates will be when elected.

Our challenge, as voters, is to try to sift through the glossies and claims and make a good choice. I have been down this road many times and think I have come up with a simple starting point.

Leopards don’t change spots. What a candidate will do can be inferred from what they have done with their lives and their leadership opportunities when nobody was looking. Have they looked out primarily for themselves and their power bases, or have they considered all those affected by their actions?

Current case: We are going to have a new governor. The governor is the chief executive of the state. They set the focus and the “tone” for government operations, but they are also the chief public servant of all of us, no matter where we live, no matter our status or circumstances. The governor is tasked with making the whole system work for all of us, not just their cronies.

I have found an unusual — and free — source for plain-spoken backgrounders on candidates: Wikipedia. Don’t scoff! The articles on candidates are remarkably free of hysterics and pumped up hot-button fillers. I find the writeups to be fact-oriented and unusually revealing of the course of their lives.

Armed with the facts, your job then becomes to picture what kind of person they have been. This can help you guess how they will perform as governor. What in their lives has prepared them to be the top administrator for 48,000 employees? Strong protector of the environment and resources? Protective of the people, all the people? Will they favor a citizen’s perspective, or identify issues more from a corporate perspective? Will they be in the pockets of action committees and power brokers?

Get the facts. Who are these people? Whose interests drive them? Then take your insights to the ballot box!