Two Readers Share Thoughts On Oct. 5 Candidate Forum

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Here in Arizona boys are boys, and sometimes the girls are too. We do not mind electing women to public office, but we want to make sure they can open up a can of whoop-you-know-what and be able to use it as well.

This is a state that produces the likes of Sharlot Hall, Frances Munds and Rachel Berry, Rose Mofford, Lorna Lockwood, Sandra Day O’Conner, Jane Hull, Janet Napolitano and Jan Brewer. This is a state that elects women as governors and is proud to hug their necks.

We love our strong women, be they Republican or Democrat. We might even give a begrudging nod to stagecoach robber, Pearl Hart.

Two such female candidates for the state senate seat representing Rim Country clashed in Payson on Oct. 5 in a debate sponsored by Clean Elections. Incumbent Sylvia Allen charged out of the corral, ropes swinging, spurs jangling. She knew what she knew and said it plain. The challenger, Elaine Bohlmeyer, sounded reasonable and intelligent, but she did not sound like a junkyard dog.

Now who the cuss wants that?

Timid voices do not fare well in a political slugfest. Yes, the issues count, but first you have to convince your audience to listen. If you slam those doggies down in the dirt and tie the knot, they won’t run away. Elaine is going to have to cowgirl up.

Image should not be so important. But when you only have one minute to state your case, you must think about it. Restricted to one-minute sound bytes, all the candidates faced the challenge of answering questions out of the can while not getting knocked off theirs.

Admirably, Ms. Bohlmeyer comes well armed. Check out her Web site. It overflows with much-needed reforms. Sensible solutions to old problems are in her crosshairs. I believe she will take careful aim before pulling the trigger.

From the comfort of the bleachers, let us remember that it takes guts to climb atop that snorting bronc called public office. Thankless sometimes, the riders take their knocks from folks unwilling to step into their boots.

As for me, I am going to vote for that spunky little gal who hopes to ride her first rodeo. She has one hand on the saddle and one hand in the air, and the gate is about to open.

I’m thinking this could be a really good ride.

Ellen R. McCoy

On Oct. 5, a rainy Tuesday night in Payson, a horde of people gathered in a room three times deeper than it was wide. They came to hear a handful of delegates vie for their votes. As the last one in, I found a spot at the back of the room of the forum for District 5 legislative candidates.

I managed to hear the pre-planned problematic questions, and the pre-planned problem-solving answers. The questions were quite candid, and each delegate’s answer was too. I cared not who belonged to which party. Consequently, I had to listen to each and every one. Like a sailboat floating on a windless sea, I waited for some force of words magical enough to move me.

And then they came ... loud and clear. “Middle-of-the road!” and “Bi-partisanship!” I tried to see who was talking. Impossible from the rear of the room, but I did hear words like “Prescott” and “Winslow,” two well-known towns in the great state of Arizona. I later learned that those two words combined to form “Prescott Winslow,” the name of a man running for the House seat in District 5; a man whose platform is middle-of-the-road. Guess who gets my vote?

The word “united” came to mind. From where do you suppose? From a slogan well embedded in my psyche ... like “United We Stand” for starters. How nice if we could carry that through to include “These United States.”

So ... what’s with a Congress divided by the likes of a seating arrangement? And what’s with the United States of America’s “red” states? And what about those opposing “blue” states?

After the forum, I shared my thoughts with that middle-of-the-road candidate, and I’m really glad I did. Prescott Winslow added to my discourse in a most matter-of-fact manner. After all, he is the candidate who has dared to take that position. Speaking from a true “grass roots” experience, he cautioned me with the following: “Middle-of-the-road is a risky place to stand; you get hit from the left and the right, and mistaken for luke-warm in your position on issues. I’m a passionate moderate, fiercely seeking transpartisan solutions that might actually work.”

He also mentioned that “Clean Elections” funding (which is based on $5 donations from lots and lots of people) enables him to run in this race for ... for what? For an opportunity to promote that “united” so important to our nation’s ability to “stand,” and with pride in our ability to work together. Here’s hoping we can grow up enough to combine our forces rather than pit each party, one against the other.

Did I hear somebody say, “Divided we fall?” Hmmm! Must have been a ghost from the past!

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