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Lincoln County needs Coker as sheriff, Carney as representative

| October 13, 2006 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

Election day rapidly approaches. Pitchforks are being sharpened and sound bites are being chewed over that will chew on us like rabid mosquitoes for the next four weeks.

I make a motion that we view our candidates asking to be elected for who they are rather then what they are. Do some research and get to know who you are about to choose to represent you. I know it will be tough and uncomfortable, but at this point what do we have to lose. We have gotten where we are today by rubber-stamping candidates from each of our own political perspectives. We have arrived at a sick place that needs healing.

I really don't know many of the candidates that I will choose from this election but I'm learning. I believe all the candidates running have certain qualities and beliefs that would mesh with some of my beliefs. But, I do know two of them fairly well.

Lincoln County needs Clay Coker as our sheriff. In my job as prevention specialist I work towards lowering youth substance abuse in our communities.

At least half of our high school students are seriously abusing drugs and alcohol. A good percentage of these kids will experience long-term effects from this abuse. So much of our children's potential will be stifled as a result of bad choices.

Mr. Coker has worked hard with his staff to address this issue in Libby and needs to have the opportunity to do so on a county level.

If you look underneath our crime rates in Lincoln County, you will find somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of incidents are alcohol- or drug-related. It has been proven nationally that if you lower underage drinking of alcohol rates you will lower all crime rates.

Clay has the energy, the knowledge of the issues and the passion to do something about the problem. He's an honest straight shooter and has a good relationship with fellow law enforcement across our county as well as some good strategies for all of us to work together and begin to seriously impact our counties drug and alcohol problems.

I believe we also need Eileen Carney as our state represenitive. She has many years of experience of working in Helena and has always been a good networker both in Helena and in our communities. She has been an educator for many years and a passionate supporter of our schools and our students and family needs. She has always been very active in giving of herself to our communities and has a good understanding of our underlying problems that need to be addressed both locally and in Helena.

But mostly she's a real human being, and boy do we need that in today's political arena. With her ability to really listen to both sides and her compassionate humility, she has always been able to find a consensus that will benefit all. I have never seen her question her opponents' motives or resort to political mudslinging. She will give all of herself in her mission to represent communities and work toward finding balance in our state government.

For those of you who know Eileen or would like to get to know her, please come join her and her friends who have rented the Hot Club Coffee House in Troy for an evening of music and desserts on Thursday, Oct 19, at 7 p.m.

Ralph Stever