Qualifying for state and local offices has officially ended. That means that election season will be heating up very quickly here in Bossier.
Local voters will cast ballots on major state offices — governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and more — as well as two state senate positions, Dist. 36 and 37. There will also be several races for the Bossier Parish Police Jury with five seats being contested.
Now is a good time to take a step back and discuss the policy of our newspaper when it comes to elections.
It has been the policy of the Bossier Press-Tribune, with very few exceptions, to not endorse candidates for office, cover endorsements from other sources, or provide coverage for political parties.
Each voter in Bossier Parish needs to choose their leaders and representatives based upon multiple factors. Not everyone has the same set of priorities, therefore not everyone will agree on a single candidate. This is why our multiple party system in the United States of America works so well. Despite our differences, we are still able to transfer power peacefully when one group of individuals is elected into power over another.
We believe that it is not our role to tell anyone who lines up with their values and priorities. When it comes to political candidates, we believe that it is important to remain impartial as to preserve fairness and balance.
We do, however, offer opinion and endorsements over single issues that may appear on a ballot. Single issues can be broken down, researched, and a conclusion drawn. Election of a person to an office isn’t so easy.
That’s not to diminish the passion of a candidate’s supporters or their importance. Not at all, we believe that presenting the information about a candidate and the office they are running for is crucial, and the best way to do that is with a balanced approach.
Over the next few weeks, you will see the BPT profiling candidates in each contested political race in Bossier Parish. We will be asking each candidate the same questions and running their responses in a “question and answer” format for clarity. In order to preserve fairness, we will hold each candidate to a hard deadline so their responses can be included together in one story, and if a particular candidate does not respond by deadline, we will run with what we have by press time. This is opposed to one candidate getting his or her “own” story.
We also welcome letters to the editor from a candidate’s supporters letting the public know why they are supporting said candidate, so long as our editorial guidelines are followed.
We realized that many in our industry do not hold this opinion/policy regarding endorsements and political coverage. They often endorse candidates, and they have every right to do so.
One thing we all agree on, however, is that everyone who is eligible to vote should cast a ballot. If nothing else, we hope voters will exercise their ability to have a say in our future.
Sean Green is editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune