Vote for the future |

Vote for the future

Round 1 of the 2014 Nevada County election season starts this May with the distribution of 'vote by mail' ballots. Election day is June 3, 2014.

The number of vote by mail ballots has increased every year over the last decade, and while overall voter turnout hasn't changed too much in this county, it's really much easier to vote now.

There were 52,173 total voters in November 2012 in Nevada County and 38,375 of those are vote by mail voters. That's not good enough! There are 62,853 registered voters in Nevada County, and there's little excuse not to vote.

There are several benefits to voting by mail: First is the convenience, a voter receives a ballot in the mail and has about one month to complete and return his/her completed ballot.

Second, even if the voter doesn't mail the ballot before Election Day, the completed ballot can be taken to any polling location on Election Day, and still be counted. Third, it is less expensive for the County Elections office to process mail ballots than to staff polling locations, thereby saving taxpayer money.

However, many people do enjoy going to the polls on Election Day. It is a family tradition for parents, children and grandparents. I remember accompanying my mom and grandma when they walked two blocks to cast their votes for Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.

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I took my two children around the corner when I voted for Bill Clinton in 1992. My son and daughter now vote by mail, as do I.

They typically invite friends for lunch and discuss their ballots while enjoying soup and sandwiches.

They then walk to the mailbox and send in the completed ballot. My grandsons make 'I Voted' stickers for their parents. A new family tradition begins.

In Nevada County in 2014, there is a choice of what direction our county will take.

There is the "Old Guard" exemplified by Supervisor District 4 candidate Hank Weston, District 3 candidate Dan Miller, and Congressional candidate Doug LaMalfa. These men are the status quo.

If voters are OK with a wealthy rice farmer who shamefully participated in the "do nothing Congress" avoiding the tasks he was elected to tackle, accepting government farm subsidies to guarantee his business profit while voting to cut food stamps, LaMalfa's your guy.

If voters believe it's OK for our county to amble along, Weston's your guy; and if you don't mind a course of increased taxes and financial mismanagement, Miller's your guy. The "Old Guard" has old ideas and old solutions.

On the other hand, if you want Nevada County to move into the 21st Century, you will cast your votes for Fran Cole for District 4 Supervisor, Terry Lamphier for District 3 Supervisor, and Heidi Hall for Congress.

Fran Cole is an experienced attorney, horse enthusiast, mother, and local nonprofit leader. She will bring a fresh outlook to a mostly archaic Board of Supervisors.

Terry Lamphier is an incumbent supervisor and a visionary on the current Board of Supervisors. He needs our support to continue to make Nevada County a shinning star among California counties.

Heidi Hall will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge of local issues to Congress. She is challenging a Tea Party candidate whose record is anti-government, and he did, in fact, vote to shut down government, which cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

These three people — Cole, Lamphier and Hall — all have a vision for a future Nevada County that includes living wage jobs, environmental sensitivity, agricultural sustainability, expanding broadband for all business, forestry sustainability, water conservation and storage, maintaining high levels of education for our young people, and much more.

It really isn't OK to be satisfied with the status quo. Elected leaders need to lead. I've listened closely to all of these candidates present their ideas and discuss their method of leading.

Doug LaMalfa represents wealthy donors and an extreme right wing population. Hank Weston seems like a nice guy who passes responsibility to others.

Dan Miller tries to be personable and everyone's friend, but doesn't understand how to move our county forward.

Nevada County deserves leaders who know how to move our county into the 21st Century.

We need new entrepreneurs, new small businesses, organic farms, educational resources, expanded tourism, and financially sound government.

I'm asking everyone to consider voting for these leaders: Heidi Hall for Congress; Terry Lamphier, District 3 supervisor; and Fran Cole, District 4 supervisor

Let's move our county into the future — not the past!

Jim Firth lives in Grass Valley.

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