, Newburyport, MA

August 20, 2013

Bust or Robust?

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

As the Daily News editorial (This fall, robust elections expected) of Aug. 12 pointed out, waterfront development and historic preservation are bound to be important issues in the upcoming election. They should be. But I for one hope these issues and the space given them do not crowd out everything else.

Let’s not whittle the race down to a mini-checklist before it has even begun.

The election should not just be about the special interests and issues that have money and organization behind them.

Voters deserve to know more about their next mayor or city councilor than whether he or she supports COW or the NRA or LHD.

Voters deserve to know the candidates’ priorities for the neighborhoods and the city beyond the waterfront and downtown. Voters also want to be able to gauge their candidates on their intellect, background, character, temperament and view on the role of government.

I think voters also care about taxes, alternative revenues, fiscal responsibility, economic development, efficiency, fairness and accountability.

They care about schools, sidewalks, streets, safety, speeding, seniors, sewers, landfill, parks, playgrounds, pensions, parking, energy, water and other issues.

I hope the candidates and the media will resist narrowing the debate and instead take the lead in expanding it by including overlooked issues. It would be even better if the press would help voters understand how the candidates might be expected to vote on issues that aren’t yet dominating the headlines.

Now that would make for a robust election.

Andrew Simpson