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This is something that plagues me every couple of years. People are not educated on the candidates. Do you vote for someone because of what they look like? Because they have a good personality? Because you went to school with them? Because they live in your neighborhood?

It's pretty easy to get in there with the criticism once someone gets into office, but what about before they are elected? Do you do the preventative maintenance? If you've got a car with a light coming on that tells you to change the oil, you have to know what kind of oil to put in there first. The light doesn't warn against olive oil or baby oil, but over the years, it has become easy to find out that you need motor oil. That's a given. So what kind of motor oil will do the best job to keep your car running smoothly? You have to consider the type of car and match it with the types of oil and the cost of the oil in a ratio to the cost of not using the oil. 

Where are you going with this, Shelli?  There's no Jiffy Lube for electing government officials! (Hopefully it wouldn't be called that anyway.) You've got to actually look at the different candidates and try them out on what issues are important to you. The candidates' height and hair color won't normally give you a good idea of whether they're likely to spend money on a pothole or a police officer. Growing up in the same area as you doesn't make the difference between an official choosing to keep jobs or clean house to make budget.

Whaddaya mean you don't know what issues are important to you? And quit interrupting me! Let me try to help you with what issues you might care about. I have posted some links toward the end that will give you some idea of who your candidates are, but here are some questions to help you figure out what you want.

Do you have kids? You probably care to some degree about education, health care, and public safety. You want the best for your kids. You want them to have access to proper learning with people who care about them. You want access to doctors who do what's right for their health, not what's cheap. You want the kids to be able to play in the yard, the park and at school and know that if a situation arises, police, fire and ambulance are seconds away from intervening on an emergency.

Do you own a home? You are looking at taxes and economy. You don't want to pay more than necessary, but the taxes go to pay for good things in your community if they're done right. Economy effects whether you're going to be able to sell that home whenever you want to, and whether you'll have a job to pay for it in the first place.

Do you drive a car? That's another one for looking at taxes. You'll also want good roads. You'll want the best way to fuel your car, whether that's a better price on petro or a better price on electric cars or somewhere in between. Facebook would call that "It's Complicated."

Do you have Internet? If you live in an area where it's expensive, difficult or impossible to get  broadband, that's an issue you can address on several levels of government.

Do you have a job? You'll be interested in benefits and retirement.

Do you own a business? Taxes, benefits, economy, fees, permits, finances and more.

Do you care who makes laws? Your leaders can decide... 
whether you need to pay more or less for a certain utility. 
where you can park your car on your own property. 
whether you should wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. 
where and if a certain type of business can be located in a certain area of the city.
whether your child can drive at age 16 or 18.
if money should go for animal control or law enforcement.
whether you must register, leash, fence and/or spay/neuter your pets.
whether you can celebrate with fireworks.
how and when you can hunt.

What do you do? What do you care about? Does your candidate care about those things? Do the preventative maintenance and get educated about the candidates.

I'm going to give you a few links now to read up on who's running for what and how to find out about them. It may not be totally complete, but maybe you can dig up some resources and help me get it there. 

State Candidates:

Saline's Local Candidates:

Soon, I'll have a list of links to the individual candidates' sites. Meanwhile, I encourage you to submit questions to me at and I will forward them to candidates and get your answers published on MySaline. Thanks for getting educated. It means a better life for me and my family too.

P.S. Special thanks to Rep. Dan Greenberg (R-31) for inspiring me to write this. He was meeting people in the neighborhood while campaigning for Arkansas Senate District 22, and took a few minutes to sit down with me in my messy living room and talk about issues that matter to me. I told him I would be nice when I talk about him. 

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Replies to This Discussion

Conrad Reynolds for US Senate check him out at
Awesome Shelli! I must say you do many things to serve the city and county. I may not agree with you on everything but I very much admire and appreciate you.

P.S. I wish I was on the candidates lists but being a single father and having a brand new job, I had to resist the urge to run.

Kime said:
Awesome Shelli! I must say you do many things to serve the city and county. I may not agree with you on everything but I very much admire and appreciate you.

Great article!!! and so true.
Don't forget the local candidates vote November and make the right choice. Vote www.EJ-HARRIS4 it out.

Note that this was written in 2010, so the candidates are different, but most of the content fits.


All I can say is: BRILLIANT.  Now, if people will just read, reread, respond, ask questions and click on the links.  That's the challenge.  You can wake 'em up but you can't make 'em stay awake.  These are the kinds of dialogues that are desperately needed.  You've given your readers a good start, Queen Saline!

Shelli, first and foremost i applaude you for this, no mtter whose idea it was.  My views and what I hope top accomplish are an open book.  I want the voters to know wherre I'm coming from--why I decided to run for public office--and I feel all of the candidates should feel the same way.  We are public officials once in office, no longer just private citizens, our ideas and thoughts can be translated into new ordinances and/or laws that can impact or lives and at the very least have an effect on it. I am not a politician, my expertise is in bookkeeping and I have been a business owner in NY---but I am passionate about 2 things--animals and common sense--if it doesn't make sense to the most people--it needs to be changed or revised.  If a major much traveled road is cutting thru a residential area, where children play, safety measures must be in place--common sense--if taxes are being collected to implement things to make our lives better--the public needs to be aware of how much money, where its coming from, and just how it is beig spent without having to go thru red tape to get the answers--common sense--If there is a dangerous corner, on a even sometime heavily traveled road--again, safety measures must be implemented.  If ferel dogs and cats are causing problems to our health or safety, it must be addressed and dealt with and if the current way isn't working--lets find a different way--common sense--can we just say NO to taxes even when needed to be spent to make our lives more comfortable, our roads safer, our children safer? Can we use common sense instead of emotions and stubborn --"this is how it was always done" attitudes to solve this--and just how much is enough?  Do we have leaders who care about costs before implementing a project--do they place cost above all else, even if safety is concerned? These are things I will address, I will be open and available to answer the problems closest to an individual--I make no promise to solve it--onkly that I will give it my full att to resolve it.  No one in city government has the power to "do it all" and no one will be able to please everyone--but they all can listen, they all can use their common sense in almost all issues, they all can be available and they all can get together to discuss important (important to the majority) issues.  The public has to deicde who they will trust to do this.  That is their "job" before they elect someone who is a good neighbor but a terrible listener or apathetic to another's needs. I can be reached thru this forum or thru my email and I'm on facebook---I will always answer you there thru pm.  My interest is to get people to realize that Benton has begun a forward movement and we need people who will continue to move us in that direction. We are the largest city in Saline County and should be leaders and innovators, not stick in the muds.  My parents had lived here since 1980 and my brother since 1961 and we have progressed more in the last 2 years tha the past 20--that is a good commentary for the future but a sad one about our past--but it has been difficult and although much has been accomplished, it has been slow progress frought with many bumps in the road that shouldn't have been ther. There is much more to be done--lets do it together. 


This may be an old post but it is still relevant today! One thing we lack in local (Bryant) politics is a discussion of the issues. I discuss several local issues on my Facebook page at .

William Burgess


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