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EDITORIAL: Involvement wins editorial board's vote of confidence

No matter who people vote for Sept. 9, they'll cast a ballot for someone with a sincere desire to serve the people of the 73rd Assembly District. That said, there are clear differences among the candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. Bru...

No matter who people vote for Sept. 9, they'll cast a ballot for someone with a sincere desire to serve the people of the 73rd Assembly District.

That said, there are clear differences among the candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.

Bruce Meyers, chairman of the Hawthorne Town Board, clearly understood the value of shared revenue and the impact levy freezes have when it comes to providing government services. However, it was hard to get past a one-issue candidate -- affordable health care. It's an admirable goal, but he seemed too willing to overlook potentially costly pitfalls that could create a health care system no one could afford.

Meyers didn't make the cut.

Nick Milroy, a Superior city councilor, had more political savvy, and was able to touch on many issues with considerably more knowledge. Milroy, as a long-time member of the Democratic Party, has party backing, something that could help a freshman Assemblyman navigate the Capitol. He's got some political heavyweights in his corner, Congressman Dave Obey and state Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar.

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That raised concern. Partisanship often stands in the way of getting the people's business done. His priorities were a concern as well. They came across as a stump speech peppered with political clichés. When he talked about taxes and spending, he said he would cut both; that hasn't always been his action on the Superior City Council. He's never led the initiatives he cited as examples of the city's good fiscal management.

Perhaps someday, but Milroy's not ready for the state house yet.

That left two to debate -- Vern Johnson and Mary Tripp -- in no particular order. Both had a good understanding of issues and neither gave pat, expected answers in lieu of a thoughtful response. Neither fumbled the political footballs.

For the more conservative voter, Johnson could very well be your man. He'd have a lot to learn if he gets to Madison, but he could do it. The Superior Fire Department captain is very pragmatic and has many strengths, but he still faces the hurdle of being unknown.

Johnson doesn't have Tripp's broad spectrum of community involvement.

In the final analysis, Tripp's broad experience and community involvement earned the Telegram editorial board's endorsement. She's involved, engaged and enthusiastic. She didn't fumble the political footballs because she said "I'd never thought of it that way. Can I get back to you?" She didn't drop the ball, and she didn't toss it back to us with predictable answers.

Tripp's best attribute -- the one that will serve the public interest well -- is her involvement in community. Whether in private industry, the nonprofit sector, or public grassroots efforts, she has demonstrated her ability to get things done. The experience she would take to Madison could only help address the most critical issues facing the state. After 12 years involvement with Superior Days -- many spent educating and engaging the next generation -- we have little doubt she could move through the Capitol, teach others in the Legislature what's important here and get things done for the people of the 73rd District and the good of the state.

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