IN just a couple of days, Mercer County voters will have a choice.

They will decide who will make decisions for their county, their communities and their schools as well as who will sit on the Court of Common Pleas bench.

And if you think these votes don’t matter, think again.

The men and women who are asking for your vote this Tuesday will set the course for your community. And, in some cases, it will be they who will advocate for state funds and who will interact with potential business investors.

In other words, they will be your representatives when it comes to making some pretty important decisions.

Add to that the fiscal responsibilities at the county commission, council and mayor levels and you have a real reason to keep a close eye on who takes the seats in your local government.

They will be responsible for what happens to your tax dollars — and making sure they are used responsibly and wisely.

The wrong decisions, the wrong associations and hires and you have Act 47 — or worse.

There are several communities in this county whose future solvency depends on who is in charge of the spending.

Holding these jobs is not a chance for patronage and a money grab. It is about doing what is right for the county and their city’s futures — and that is it.

Think about that as you make your choice.

At the school board level, if you do not think it is critically important that you choose wisely, think about this. The quality of our communities’ schools is a critical factor in whether we can attract business and residential investment and continue our progress forward as a county.

The people we put into school board seats need to have a keen grasp of how to use taxpayer and state funding wisely. They must be strong enough to make decisions based on maintaining the quality of education, not just because a “yes” vote rubber-stamping a superintendent’s recommendation is easier.

If you don’t choose wisely here, you get sky-high contracts, money spent on frivolities, not necessities, and no accountability.

That is how budgets head straight into the red — and when the increases in taxes start.

And could there be any more important decision than who sits behind a judge’s bench?

The candidates for these seats are responsible for administering justice fairly and responsibly. That should be uppermost in your mind when you pick those names.

We know many of you cannot handle anymore “politics,” that the national debacle has soured you on getting involved.

But your vote is important, always, even if there are no national leadership choices on the ballot.

If we want to set Mercer County’s direction and continue to see development in downtown Sharon, economic development in Hermitage, progress forward in Farrell and other communities as well as bright futures for our schools, we cannot sit back and wait for someone else to choose those who will lead us forward.

We owe it to our children and grandchildren to put the people in place to make not just a decision, but the right ones.

And that starts with fulfilling our responsibilities as citizens and casting our votes Tuesday. 

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