This year there will be national, state, county and city elections. The presidential election has been described as historic. One candidate is an African-American and the other was a Vietnam prisoner of war. The differences in their policies are tremendous. But even with this election looming large on the horizon, the most important elections will always be local. After all, Washington will still be Washington.


This year there will be national, state, county and city elections. The presidential election has been described as historic. One candidate is an African-American and the other was a Vietnam prisoner of war. The differences in their policies are tremendous. But even with this election looming large on the horizon, the most important elections will always be local. After all, Washington will still be Washington.

Our daily lives are more affected by local, city and county elections than by who is president of the United States. It starts every morning when you awake and turn on the water to take that shower, and it continues throughout the day as you commute to work over city or county roads that morning. It continues as you hear sirens of a fire truck headed for an emergency and it continues as that new industry comes to the Shawnee area and provides jobs for our citizens. City and county elections can have a large influence on our lives.

On July 29, Shawnee city elections will be held for mayor and two commissioner posts. I believe Shawnee is at a crossroads. I would urge citizens of Shawnee to study and ask questions of the candidates, but foremost, please vote. It is pitiful that only a small percentage of people vote in city elections. Our daily lives can be changed by the vote of only a few voters. As a resident of Shawnee, if you don’t vote, then you have no right to complain. Wouldn’t it be nice if, in order to write a letter to the editor or call in to Tri-County Speaks, you would have to prove that you actually voted?

Pottawatomie County will be voting on Aug. 26 to make the 1 percent county sales tax permanent. This election also puts county government at a crossroads, except much more seriously. I fully support having the tax permanent. First, let’s make it plain: this is not a tax increase. Whether you live inside Shawnee or outside Shawnee, you need to support this election. Sixty percent of the distribution will be for roads. A friend of mine says that all roads lead to Shawnee, and he’s right.  If you live in Shawnee and never drive on a county road, you still should support this election. When people in the county have better roads to drive to Shawnee and spend money — which creates sales tax for Shawnee — that money is put back in Shawnee streets, which makes it a win-win situation. The percentages are going to be printed on the ballot. They cannot be changed later without a vote of the people. Anything that is good for the Shawnee area is good for Shawnee residents. Just as the Citizen Potawatomi Nation is proposing to provide infrastructure and water to the Dale area — which is good for Dale and Shawnee — let’s have the view of “build it and they will come.”

I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I know quality of life is vital for any growing community. I love Shawnee and this area, so please vote yes in the county election.

Editor’s Note: This guest editorial is offered by Ron Henderson, a member of The Shawnee News-Star Editorial Advisory Board. He is owner and operator of Demco Printing Co. The views expressed by our guest editorialists and guest columnists are theirs and do not necessarily reflect the views of the News-Star’s management.