Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I Voted - Did You?

What a great fall morning! I walked to the polls – only one-half a block away from my house. This was quite a change for me because of the many years I lived in Oregon where the vote is done at home through a mail in ballot. I liked this for many reasons. One was that with every ballot I received a booklet that contained unbiased information about all the candidates and how their stand on the issues would impact me as the voter. After years of the mail in ballot, however, I now live in Kentucky and for the first time in almost 20 years, I walked to the polls and voted. I even used a paper ballot! Boy, did that remind me of our heritage as voters in a free country!

Now, to the actual ballot. One of the best things about living in Kentucky is that the election for the state executive offices from the governor on down as well as members of the judicial branch are held in odd numbered years. That gave me a chance to really focus on the election of state officials and who I wanted to vote for and not rely on simply checking a straight party ticket. This is not how I vote. I look at each issue and think about how that affects me as a voter who wants to use my vote to make a stand on the issues not any one Party or personality. As I made my decision, I took two issues that are most important to me and looked for the candidate who might take a stand on them.

In the race for governor, unfortunately, I found no candidate willing to take a stand against dirty coal which has a grip on this state much like the tobacco industry of the late 20th Century. Yes, a lot of people lost jobs when the facts about health and smoking came to light, but since Kentucky was a tobacco producing state from the growing of tobacco to the manufacture of tobacco, no candidate for any office – Democrat as well as Republican – ever took a stand against that. Kentucky’s health rates due to excessive cigarette smoking are the major cause of the burden of health care right now due to heart disease, emphysema, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and lung cancer. I have lost three relatives too soon to the diseases and the culprit – cigarette smoking.

Now, we are dealing with health issues from asthma to chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, etc. The cause dirty air and water. Major cause – fracking. Instead of tobacco, we now have Peabody Coal controlling the voting public in most of Kentucky, especially Pike County, in the name of jobs. Therefore, in making my decision for governor, I had to vote against someone, not really for someone. I hate this method of voting, but that was my only choice.

In the race for Cabinet Departments, I again had to make a decision based on voting against something instead of for something. I voted against the candidates who used attack ads. Those were for state auditor. For the Secretary of Agriculture, I found I had a choice.  In the ads I saw for this post, I discovered both candidates told why they wanted to have this post as it related to Kentucky agriculture. I voted for the candidate that stated clearly his desire to return Kentucky to family farms and local production of food. That is more important to me than joining the bloc against Monsanto in the federal government. Family farms and local producers are using different methods and when I buy from them I can go right to the producer and find out the methods they use and decide whether or not to buy from them. For Secretary of State, I voted for Allison Grimes, a real candidate who cares about Kentucky and ran for the Senate against Mitch McConnell last year. Her loss was unfortunate because she made a weak effort to take on Kentucky’s dirty coal but the people here aren’t ready for that.

In the Judiciary, I voted for the judge that I believe would best represent fairness and justice when making decisions in the courts here. Well, that’s my story. I voted, did you?

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