Vote Cole in the June primary

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When it’s time to cast your vote for county commissioner, I hope you’ll check the box to re-elect Mike Cole.

We don’t need a politician to run our county business. We need maturity and integrity, and that’s what we have in Cole.

I’m very concerned about candidate Josh Letcher’s ability and inclination to take seriously the responsibilities of a commissioner. He offers many claims about his own experience and makes insinuations about Cole’s performance, but from Letcher’s advertising and from his online posts, I fear he likes campaigning rather more than he would like governing.

Even if you like his ideology, Letcher hasn’t shown much understanding of the systems or mechanisms he might use to accomplish his aims, nor any recognition that some of his aims are well outside the purview of the county.

In an election or in government, the ends do not justify the means. That’s something Cole understands and has shown time and again.

In his advertising in this paper and his written responses to questions published in the Libby paper, candidate Letcher has toed an extremely fine line, saying “Unlike the other candidate” before rattling off a bunch of things Letcher himself will not deign to do.

Most concerning to me, after a direct attack on (life-long Republican) Cole’s so-called party switching, only some very meager punctuation separates Letcher’s claims that he will not misinform or buy votes, thus implying without technically stating that he believes Cole would do so.

Stooping to the level of suggesting that his opponent is a liar or willing to buy votes says more about Letcher’s character than Cole’s.

Less insidiously, but even more snarkily, Letcher claims he will “actually” research the answers to questions, implying that Cole does not do so.

I have covered the county commission’s doings for the past several years, and I hope I’ve gotten on their nerves a few times; that’s my job. But I am happy to say that every single time I’ve called up Cole with a question, he answers me directly and straightforwardly, or points me to the person in the county who would know.

Cole is no dissembler. To his own detriment in public perception, he’s taken responsibility for fixing mistakes made by others, from the partisan election issue to planning snafus to the perennially hapless Port Authority.

In his time in office, Cole has proven that he’s a supporter of multiple use of forests and has entertained any and all proposals - likely or less so — that might net more timber harvest in the county.

He has worked hard to be responsible with the taxpayers’ money. Since his election, county personnel have gotten a raise just once in five budget cycles, while their ranks have dwindled from 131 to 88 full time staff and elected officials.

Cole understands the many responsibilities of the county and is impeccably careful about exactly how the county gets things done. He not only knows but cares that there are limits on the county’s authority, and does not try to do an end run around those limits.

Cole is the man for the job. Vote Cole in the June primary.

Nikki Meyer is a reporter for the Tobacco Valley News in Eureka

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