In a couple of days, New Castle and Lawrence County voters will be asked to make choices that will affect their future and those of their children and grandchildren.
From mayoral and council races to school boards, county commissioners and judge seats, all of the names on the ballot will be local — and that is where their influence will be felt, too.
This has not been an easy campaign, particularly in some of the more contested races.
And that means that there has been a lot of behavior, especially on social media, that has been, well, reprehensible.
In fact, it is amazing how similar the battle for the New Castle mayor’s spot in particular has been to the national fray going on right now — marred by assumptions, false accusations, inappropriate statements and other less than honorable discussions about whom to vote for and why.
So, we took the time to do two articles on each of the men who are asking for your vote this Tuesday — one a sort of introduction and the other a more detailed look at what they stand for.
And we hope that you will use that — and not the yickity yak on Facebook and beyond — to make your choice.
New Castle is at a crossroads. The decisions that are made now will set the stage for where this community will end up and how big a part it will play in Lawrence County’s future.
And make no mistake, Lawrence County is moving briskly into the future.
What does that mean for New Castle and the people who live here? Simple: There is no room for the same old, same old, quid pro quos and backdoor deals or any of the other short-sighted decision-making that got this community into Act 47 years ago in the first place.
The man who steps into the mayor’s office this January had better have a plan that includes a good hard look at how the city runs, how to work its budget to use the taxpayers’ money wisely and responsibly and a vision for how to convince investors and the rest of the county that this is a city with a new purpose and a new vision.
That means whomever is in the office has to have a backbone, an independent streak that allows him to tell party leaders and others with agendas that the city’s needs come before politics and a nose for what needs to be cleaned up and who needs to move on.
And we cannot emphasize this enough — there needs to be a fresh look and a new dedication to leading New Castle into its next act.
Chris Frye, Jim Constant and Mark Elisco each have definitive plans. All of them get that the job is going to be hard. And all three mayoral candidates see a future for New Castle that involves a change in the way things have always been done.
It is too bad that there are not more slots.
But since there is only one mayor’s job, we hope that whomever is not elected will be willing to keep being a part of the discussion about moving the city forward. Their dedication and passion for their community would be invaluable assets.
And they could help us keep our eyes on those who are sitting in city hall.
Notice that when we mentioned the mayoral candidates, we did not mention their party affiliations. There is a reason.
Those should not be a factor in this discussion. This is not about power, position or party loyalty. This is about speaking up for the city.
Elisco has promised that the D after his name will not keep him from talking frankly with Gov. Tom Wolf about the needs of this community — or pointing out how those needs have not been on the governor’s top shelf lately.
And Frye has a challenge, too, to make sure that the R after his name does not embroil him in the bickering at the state or the national level or mire him in the muck and gamesmanship that have often stalled action in Harrisburg and in Washington.
He has to be New Castle’s advocate and make the tough decisions — no matter who is in office.
Constant is an independent — and has pledged to make sure those who are serving in the Statehouse and in the governor’s mansion are aware of the needs of this community. He will have to remain determined to make sure that they listen.
So, the choice is really yours. Each man has a message about moving forward. Each has outlined his plan for New Castle.
Read them all, ignore the noise and choose the man you think will put the city first and be its leader and champion.
And those other races we mentioned — county commissioner, council member, judge, school board member — they are important, too. The commissioners set the county’s course, while the council members are the support staff and watchdogs who make sure the people’s business gets done. Judges administer justice and help keep this community safe, while school board members determine your children’s educational success.
And all of these people, even the judges tangentially, have some impact on how your money is spent and how wisely it is used.
Pick with your head, ignore the trolls on Facebook and the less-than-honorable social media banter and make a difference in your community’s future.
It doesn’t matter whom you choose.
But for goodness sake, please vote.