Guest column

How do we decide which candidate to vote for?

Guest column by Linda Newell
Posted 6/19/18

It’s primary season in Colorado. So glad I never had one of those! June marks the end of my second quarter in seminary, a place I never thought I’d be, and yet also marks a gubernatorial contest, …

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Guest column

How do we decide which candidate to vote for?

Posted

It’s primary season in Colorado. So glad I never had one of those!

June marks the end of my second quarter in seminary, a place I never thought I’d be, and yet also marks a gubernatorial contest, where I actually thought I might be someday. It definitely shows how you never know where God is going to put you.

I’ve been asked by some how I’ll be voting in the primary. Although I won’t say exactly for whom I’m voting, I can share the thought process I’ve been going through, if that helps.

First, I have been in Colorado since 1992 and have never seen this many candidates for governor on both sides. While it might seem wonderful to know that we have so much talent from which to draw, it can also be overwhelming to try to determine which one we want to hang our Rockies hat on.

Full disclosure, I am specifically referring to the Democratic candidates, as that is how I’m registered. But hopefully, my thought process might help voters from all (or no) parties.

It’s especially difficult for me this time because I personally know all of the candidates.

How do I ethically and objectively go about deciding which of my friends to support? As a woman, some might think I could choose solely based on gender. I’d love to finally see a woman governor in our state. We were the first official state in the nation to allow women to vote yet have never had one in the top seat.

Isn’t it about time to have a woman’s perspective influencing our policies and demonstrating new leadership? And we have two, not one, intelligent and proficient women candidates from which to choose.

Or I could choose based on relationship. My closest relationship is with someone with whom I worked in the state Senate for seven years.

I saw his brilliance in his thought processes, compassion and eloquence in his floor speeches, and politically, his community organizing magic.

Or I could go with the person who could be our first openly gay governor, bringing in the embodiment of inclusion for our LGBTQ folks in the state.

Should I go with which political groups have endorsed whom? Well, that’s a no because I support all the groups that have endorsed different candidates. Ugh!

Now, through a lens from my ethics and social justice courses, I know I need to focus on the ethics of the person and the ethos of their background.

Based on their “social location” (yes, Google that) and their life experience, could they truly understand my priorities?

Will they be able to represent my values? Can I trust them to be honest and transparent?

I do feel lucky to know all the candidates and to personally know what a governor does and doesn’t do. As for you, you’ll need to do your own research, but hopefully this helps a bit along the way.

I will say that this is a critical role in our government and merits our thoughtful discernment. Thanks in advance for voting and making your voice heard!

Formerly a Colorado state senator and now a seminary student at Iliff School of Theology, Linda Newell, of Littleton, is a writer, speaker, filmmaker and consultant. She may be reached at Senlindanewell@gmail.com, www.lindanewell.org, www.senlindanewell.com, @sennewell on Twitter, Senator Linda Newell or @TheLastBill on Facebook.

Linda Newell

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