In all honesty, there wasn't a lot of meat at the Republican forum last week, particularly from challengers. There was a lot of talk about "improving customer service" and "technology" but nothing really substantive. Incumbents knew their office, their duties, what they had accomplished and plans for improvement. Palo Pinto County voters don't much care for negative campaigning, in fact, historically, it has hurt the naysayer more than the accused. But the reality is, if someone wants to challenge the incumbent there needs to be substance to the campaign. We don't much care if a candidate owns property or not in the county. The reality is, anyone who owns rental property and intends to make money from rentals will not absorb taxes - that's figured into monthly rent or the cost of a lease. For years, people at Possum Kingdom Lake leased property from Brazos River Authority and paid taxes on those leases. Whether or not a candidate votes in an election is not a real concern either. Yeah, it might be an indicator but it has little relevance to whether or not a person can do the job. What does matter is, are they familiar with the statutes governing the position they are seeking? Have they taken the time to look into the budget for that office? Are they aware of what steps have been taken to modernize that office? Are they aware of problems that have been identified? If so, what problems and can they be substantiated? To give the illusion that there are areas that need improvement with no substantiation is misleading and might generate some votes, the truth will come out at some point.

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It's great to offer oneself for public office, it is an honorable thing to do and there is no reason someone shouldn't if they meet the qualifications. As for voters, the choice is up to each individual. While a candidate's popularity certainly plays into a voter's opinion, it is not a beauty contest or who is the best sounding. Choices should be made unemotionally, deliberately. In the words of the master on the old TV series "Kung Fu," "Choose wisely, grasshopper."