Editorial: Focus on local issues first

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, August 3, 2021

When it comes to county commissioner, Salisbury City Council or town board, there’s not a Republican or Democratic way to take out the trash, repair streets or make sure police officers and firefighters are paid a fair wage. There’s no piece of the Republican or Democratic platforms saying how parks should be maintained or which qualities are best in a county or municipal manager.

That’s why it’s odd to hear candidates for those offices talk like they’re headed to Washington, D.C., to take on corporate lobbyists or powerful political interests as they did during a Saturday event at Sloan Park. The ability to listen to new and different ideas and carefully consider them before making a decision should be among the most valuable traits in any candidate.

There’s no need to, “go up there and teach the politicians what we want them to do,” as commissioner candidate Angie Spillman put it. If she’s elected, she’ll most likely be on a board with five other Republicans who share her views on topics such as the Second Amendment and prayer. And even if they aren’t all Republicans, they live in the same community, shop at local grocery stores and care enough about making the community better to run for office.

Resorting to rhetoric about elections being stolen, as candidate Jonathan Barbee did, won’t help people who are struggling to pay bills or find transportation to work.

It won’t get rid of trash that litters roadways and parking lots, decide rezoning requests, hire a city manager when Lane Bailey retires or address Salisbury’s gun violence problems. It won’t find money to make improvements to public infrastructure so new businesses are more interested in setting up shop in town.

Politics are already divisive enough. Don’t let municipal and county commissioner races become nationalized. Before choosing a candidate, Salisbury and Rowan County voters need to know how they’ll address local issues.