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August 21, 2012

News and Tribune letters: Aug. 21, 2012

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — A call for district voting in Clarksville


Depending on your political outlook, if a new person much like a Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton or Steve Stemler was running for a councilman in your area to represent your district and people outside your area were allowed to vote on that person, how would that make you feel? Would you say that your right to representation is being superseded by the tsunami of “outside” votes?

Regrettably, except for the 1992 elections, that’s exactly what has been happening in Clarksville for decades. Why is it that neighboring Charlestown, with a population 7,660, understands that only people from a district can vote for a candidate from that district? They got it right. Clarksville, with a population of 23,000, allows people to vote on every candidate in every district.

Be it Democrat or Republican, our districts and our town are denied some of the best people to serve them. Townwide voting unfairly favors the status-quo. Fresh blood with fresh ideas and energy don’t have a chance. And that is what is so desperately needed in these tough times.

Back in 1992, when voting was by district, I won my district. My wife and I both had middle class jobs and two children at home. It was all we could do to campaign in the 4th district — but we won. I’ll be the first to admit there are much more qualified and competent citizens in the 4th district to serve us, but the fact is the people in my district chose me over the incumbent. This probably would not have happened if it was left up to voters in outside districts who didn’t know me or the issues close to my district.

One argument has it that since the councilmen vote on everything affecting the town then they should be voted on townwide. Horse hockey. The same is true for the councilmen in Charlestown but they manage to function with district voting. Senators Bayh and Lugar voted on issues involving all of America yet only the people in Indiana were allowed to choose who would go to Washington to represent them.

By definition, we are a representative republic wherein the people elect representatives to make and enforce laws. After the election, we have little say and depend on the legislator’s judgment to do the right thing. It is thus vitally important that these choices be made close to home.

So where do the councilmen stand on allowing basically 80 percent of the vote for your representative to come from outside of your district? Bob Popp, Bob Polston, Don Tetley and Paul Kraft all favor townwide voting.

• Bob Popp taught government and Jan. 31, 1994, voted to retain district voting yet now favors townwide.

• Don Tetley, when he was running, said at a town hall meeting he was in favor of district voting.

• Bob Polston told me before and after he started serving he was in favor of district voting.

Why now do they favor the opposite? Why don’t you ask them. And then ask them to do the right thing and vote to allow us to choose our own representative.

— John Krueger, Clarksville

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