The April 5 election is bearing down on us, and we’ll help you prepare yourselves to vote by publishing Q&As with the candidates in contested races. This year, among the 21 Door County Board of Supervisors seats – all up for reelection – there are seven contested races. Our coverage of those races and a general update of the election will begin with our March 18 issue.
Previously, we published the Q&As for the Gibraltar School Board candidates in preparation for their primary election Feb. 15. You can find those at doorcountypulse.com.
We’re also beginning to receive candidate-endorsement letters to the editor, which we do welcome. Those on today’s page are for a county board supervisor, but also for the gubernatorial election, which doesn’t happen until November.
A couple of things to note about these endorsement letters:
• We don’t publish endorsements in the issue immediately prior to the election. That means for the April 5 election, the deadline for letter writers to endorse candidates is Monday, March 21, 12 pm, for the March 25 issue.
• If you’re writing to endorse a candidate, do not quote that candidate. You’re giving your opinion about the candidate in your own words, not reporting on them.
Also coming up March 13-19 is Sunshine Week: a nonpartisan, nonprofit national initiative begun in 2005 by the American Society of News Editors – now the News Leaders Association – to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.
It’s keyed to the March 1 birthday of James Madison. The fourth president of the United States drafted the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution) in 1791, including the guarantee of a free press contained within the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Sunshine Week is not just about the journalism connection and the role the news media play in the free flow of information. To the contrary, as Ken Paulson, a Wisconsin State Journal columnist wrote, “access to government information is critical to every American who cares about the quality of his or her community, state and nation.”
The need for government transparency truly happens at all levels when conducting the public’s business. Open records and meeting requirements help to ensure this transparency, and anyone has access to these public records.
The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council – which exists to “safeguard access to information that citizens must have to act responsibly in a free and democratic society – has a good website (wisfoic.org) full of resources to help citizens use public-access tools.
It’s March in Wisconsin, so I can’t help but wish that Sunshine Week brought along with it some literal sunshine. Gray skies have their charm, but I, for one, could use a little photosynthetic action.