We recently completed ‘mid-term’ elections. As usual Morgan citizens responded well with a relatively high percentage turn out. As a community we, like the rest of the nation, were mostly focused on the national scene. It is, after all, what we see and hear in the news. Unfortunately, sometimes we do not pay as close attention to what is going on in our own county as we should.
Two candidates were vying for one of the “At Large” county council seats. When the votes were cast Larry Hatch barely edged out Robert Kilmer. After the voting was complete, but before the votes were certified Larry Hatch resigned from his newly elected position. That left Robert Kilmer as the winner of the election. (To Robert’s credit he stated that he did not want to win the election that way.)
Hatch’s reason for withdrawing was that he felt that Robert would be a better council member. Hatch could not be more correct. In almost every debate Larry stated that he did not know whether he was the most qualified candidate. In fact Larry said if he felt that Robert was more qualified than he, that he would vote for Robert. Larry did more than vote for Robert, he handed Robert the election and cavalierly tossed aside the choice of half of the county.
The citizens of Morgan County were denied the opportunity to make a meaningful choice between two qualified candidates. There was a third person who also ran, Amy Clark. She is well qualified. Had Larry Hatch not been playing games with the political process the citizens could have had a meaningful opportunity to vote between two qualified candidates, Robert Kilmer and Amy Clark.
Politics should not be a game. We have had a lot of controversy in our county arising over the malfeasance of a county employee. What we need is a chance to heal. We cannot heal when political grandstanding takes center stage. Neither can we stop those who want to engage in bad behavior. But we can and should take the time to get involved and learn about the real problems and issues in the county. If the voters had known that Larry was just in the race as part of a game, they would not have wasted their votes. When we go to vote we must cast an educated vote for those who are willing to seriously make an effort to serve. It is our duty to become educated and not rely on name familiarity when we vote.