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Area voters value accessible leaders

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If I had a dime for all the times I became stumped over a homework assignment during my high school years, I'd be a rich man.

The buzzer would ring, my last teacher of the day would dismiss our class, and everyone would head home. But soon after starting a homework assignment, I'd hit some sort of knowledge wall that would send me into a mini freak-out session.

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But never fear; I always knew that I could reach out to my teachers for help. If it was absolutely necessary, I'd drive back to school, race to a particular classroom, and usually was met with a welcoming smile and can-do attitude. But most importantly, my teachers provided me with assurance that I would overcome the challenges that were ahead.

I think voters look for the same assurance.

When it comes to choosing whom to turn to for political representation - whether it involves the president, senators, county commissioners or mayors - we want to feel assured that the best person will always be there to guide us down the right path.

Now, for some of these leaders, being constantly accessible to everyone is a stretch. And yes, it is impossible to be in two places at once, and no one can accommodate everyone's schedules to fit their own. But it doesn't change the reality of what people are truly seeking during this election: peace of mind from their leaders.

When you think about it, high school students and voters are a lot alike. Like the afterschool help-seeker I once was, many voters value the idea of being in touch with a leader or representative. If it's their only option, I'm sure many voters would be willing to leave voicemails, write letters and shout from the sidelines at some political pep rally to reach their leaders, but what they really hope for is to be able to visit with a leader in person or have their concerns acknowledged.

Turning to a more rural focus during this election season, it has been interesting to see people express their desire to have elected individuals who live close by. For many people, it's a turndown to hear that a candidate would live a long distance from the area they would be representing.

I would always breathe a sigh of relieve when I peeked through the window of a classroom door and saw a high school teacher settled behind their desk. Many voters want to know that an elected person will be there for them during difficult times.

The thing is there are some candidates who have strived to be more accessible to the people they wish to serve. Some have given out their cell phone numbers to those who may have future questions. Others may stick around for coffee after a Sunday morning church service so they can chat with local parishioners.

These are the types of people who should be in office.

Election Day is almost here, so think about who will be there to hear you out when you have a concern. Will they meet you with a reassuring smile and solid answers, or will you run into a wall every time you need them?

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