It’s Election Season here in North Carolina. I’ve had the misfortune of seeing a lot of political ads of late, mostly focusing on the fight between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis for a seat in the US Senate. It’s an ugly fight, to be sure, but then these days, what political fights aren’t ugly?
Like most people, I don’t fit easily into one specific modality of political thinking. I have issues that I’m more liberal, and I have issues that I’m more conservative. But while I have an opinion on most issues, there are really only three issues that I consider ‘core’: public health, education, and infrastructure.
I’ve never really cared about ‘jobs’ because what I’ve generally seen is businesses don’t (necessarily) go where they get the biggest tax breaks (read: bribes) but where has the best infrastructure. Citizens United not withstanding, companies are made up of people, people who want nice shopping centers and good parks and well-maintained roads. A company may put a single manufacturing plant in a state the bribes them but will set up offices (read: plural) in the state that has the best roads and schools.
Education and public health should be pretty obvious. In North Carolina, I’ve had the good fortune to see what a public health department should be. The Department of Health and Human Services of North Carolina ran one of the most revered and respected cancer registries in the entire country back in the 1990s. And that registry helped the state tackle so many issues, it practically turned epidemics into afterthoughts. Sadly, I’ve also gotten to see what happens with public health is neglected. Being part of Appalachia, NC is neighbor to some horror stories of civic neglect. And worse, it seems some in our state aspire to be more like those neglected regions of West Virginia and Georgia, where public water is undrinkable and health care begins and ends with what is available at Walmart.
These are just my issues, which largely inform how I vote. This isn’t to say these are the only things I care about, and certainly not the only things I pay attention to. But when I consider a candidate, these are the first three things about which I want to know their stance.
What are your three issues? What are the three most important issues you want your elected officials to address? Do you know the stance of those issues on the officials you plan to vote for?
Look beyond the elections. What are the three issues in general that matter most to you?