Editorial

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed, or at least learned something, from our election guide for the primary to be held on June 9.

There are some very important leadership positions which will be chosen in this primary, and some very good reasons for you to make sure you vote.

It is so important for us to pick the best candidates to be our leaders. In this election we’re choosing our head law enforcement position for Floyd County — our sheriff.

Having a person who is truly a leader in that position is key. In the past few years we’ve seen some good things happening in response to some not so good things. We’ve seen our jail expanding to deal with the influx of those with mental health issues — a direct result of the closing of Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital in 2011.

That hurt us here and the evidence can be seen on the street. How often have you seen a person wandering aimlessly, obviously in need of assistance and clearly dealing with a larger burden than they can cope with? Many of those people, our fellow Georgians, were turned away from many services in the closure of that state facility. Luckily we’ve had nonprofits step up to help those who can be helped and they’re working diligently. We’d like to thank all the local organizations who’ve answered the call.

But there are those who just can’t, or won’t, be helped.

The jail got them with Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital’s closing but, not to talk down about the sheriff’s office, they weren’t prepared. Solid leadership from the sheriff, our local leaders AND our voters is creating some form of resolution — a mental health wing at the jail.

That project, costing local voters an estimated $7.4 million, is funded through two special purpose, local option sales tax packages. That unit containing 20 to 30 beds for people at the jail with mental illness is expected to be completed — along with a medical section — in December 2021.

So, for those of you who vote, thanks for having the ability to look forward. Also, let’s take a minute to give a pat on the back to Maj. Bob Sapp at the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office who has overseen that important work.

That’s the kind of leadership we’re looking for in this election, as well as the upcoming election in November. We need leaders who can look forward, identify a problem and deal with that problem.

We need people in office who can work with their counterparts in other agencies, including the city and county government. This is a group effort and getting things done takes teamwork.

We’ve asked some questions and let the candidates answer in the hopes you’ll find a person who aligns with how you want things to get done. We’ve covered a number of races and, honestly, not all the candidates got back to us. If you don’t see a candidate represented, they didn’t respond — and we reached out to all of them.

If you see a box that isn’t filled, they didn’t answer that question. Take what you will away from that. But when you’re in office you answer to all the people and you better be ready to answer some tough questions and make tough decisions.

All three candidates in the sheriff’s race have experience and we, as voters, have to decide who has the right amount of leadership experience, ability and community trust. The next sheriff needs to be an effective communicator and exemplify sound judgment because he’d be responsible for hiring his management team.

In this voter guide and in our coverage of this primary race overall we’ve worked to stay out of the muck.

In the 14th Congressional District race we’ve seen some underhanded attempts to discredit opponents with sketchy information and in other races we’ve seen fake social media accounts work to spread patently false information.

Most of it has come in the sort of tips that arrive in the form of fake email addresses and fake social media accounts reporting “SHOCKING” information that “MUST BE REPORTED TO YOUR READERS.” Well folks, much of it was overblown ... and we still prefer to report well-sourced information to our readers.

But as news consumers you must do your part as well. Carefully consider the source of your information and don’t share unreliable information on social media. Don’t be made the fool by dishonest, unethical and manipulative people.

There is accurate, reliable information out there and more people need to work to recognize it as we’re inundated with misinformation.

So as we roll into the last few weeks before the primary, we’ll continue to do just that — give you coverage of our community you can depend on and when we make a mistake, we’ll admit it.

Look for leaders you trust, vote for them and improve our community in every way that you can. Thank you for reading.

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