Get to know your candidates

For the past year, voters nationwide have been inundated with information about the presidential candidates. Yet far too frequently, local voters are frustrated about how difficult it is to find information about local candidates seeking public office. Complaints include a lack of accurate backgrounds about candidates, their stances on issues, or where to access their voting records.

On the flip side, many candidates are looking for interested voters who will ask questions or allow them to share their opinions. Having a state capitol hundreds of miles away presents a huge barrier to communication between legislators and constituents. And finding an effective, cost-efficient way to reach citizens and combat voter apathy is always tough.

During the coming weeks, we will help to bridge this gap between constituent and elected representative by working to share more information in this space about the voting records, policy positions, and statements made by our elected officials serving North Idaho. The intent of this column is not to embarrass any elected officials, but to hopefully provide context for their decisions, and make information readily available so voters can compare what a candidate says and what they do, plus motivate all voters to become part of the primary election process.

At the end of the day, we believe that open, accurate information gives voters better choices, and increased voter participation rewards us in better government.

For those columns pertaining to the Idaho Legislature, the pieces we write will be accompanied by a vote tally of the Idaho House and Senate, and a quick scorecard of how area legislators voted, so you can see not just their votes on a bill or issue, but where that vote compares with their colleagues in the Legislature.

Finally, we close with a quick note that if you want to get involved, this weekend provides an excellent chance. This Saturday, Jan. 30, all the Idaho state legislators from Kootenai County are scheduled to participate in a town hall meeting from 9-11 a.m. at St. John’s Orthodox Church, 4718 E. Horsehaven Ave. in Post Falls. Come hear what they have to say and bring some questions of your own!

Sandy Patano is a member of Republican North Idaho Political Action Committee (Republican NIPAC or NIPAC): “Protecting Individual Freedom, Promoting Individual Responsibility: Our mission is to help rational, dedicated, problem-solving people get elected to public office — by motivating citizens to register, affiliate, and vote in the upcoming primary elections.”

By Sandy Patano,, January 29, 2016