Local issues matter

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

By the end of today, we'll know who the next president of the United States is. That's not all we'll know. We'll also know if the proposed creation of an ambulance district in eastern Carroll County passes and if the proposed 1 percent sales tax in Eureka Springs is approved by the majority of voters. There's also the sheriff race, county judge race and several proposed bills to be considered.

Like many of you, I'm pretty enthusiastic about my presidential pick. I believe in the presidential nominee I'm voting for just as much as you do, and I'm excited to see how that race pans out. Win or lose, there's something really special about voting for a person you believe in. It feels good to know that you have a say in the way our country progresses. It's the kind of thing that reminds all of us why being an American is so wonderful in the first place.

That said, I don't think the presidential race is the most important one in this election. It matters. It matters a lot. But our future president won't affect any of us the way the proposed ambulance district or a proposed sales tax would. I'm not here to campaign for either of these proposals. While I have my opinions, I'm not going to try to sway anybody one way or the other.

We all have our reasons for voting the way we do. To be honest, I'm just glad so many people are getting out and exercising their right to vote this year. I've seen so many people on social media sharing that they've voted early, and it makes me feel like our democracy is working the way it should be. The whole idea behind our country is that we all get a say in what happens. Many people in other countries don't have that right. We should celebrate it as much as we can, and voting is one of the best ways to do this.

Voting for local issues is the best way to have a say in what affects you directly. Because I live in Eureka Springs, I'll have the opportunity to vote for or against the proposed 1 percent sales tax. This is something I've reported on for months now, and I feel well-informed on it. I've heard from people who support it and people who don't. Both sides are passionate about the proposed tax, as they should be. If it's passed, the tax will have a big effect on Eureka Springs residents. If it's not, it will still affect these residents in a big way.

Likewise, the proposal for an ambulance district in eastern Carroll County stands to change the way ambulance services are managed in Berryville and Green Forest. Managing editor Scott Loftis recently wrote a three-part series about the proposed district, where he interviewed people who support the district and those who don't. I know firsthand how hard Scott worked on that series, and I hope all of you read it when making up your minds about the proposed ambulance district. If you live in the eastern part of our county, your vote on that proposal matters very much.

The way Carroll County residents vote on these local issues will fundamentally change an aspect of all our communities. When you go to the polls today, I hope all of you know how important these proposals are. I also hope you know how important it is that you get to have a say in what happens in our county.

\It's an honor to do that, especially when you're voting in a race that will affect you and your neighbors directly. I hope you savor it. I know I will.

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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com