I've been with the Dickinson County News since the start of 2010. There's never been a week when we've left out the opinion page. Sometimes, when we get a bumper crop of commentary, we'll even add a second page.
That's not a wrinkle I brought to the table, by the way. I'm sure the uninterrupted string of opinion pages goes back much farther than my arrival.
We take that portion of the newspaper seriously because page 4 is as much your page as it is ours.
We run plenty of updates from your state and federal lawmakers so you're up-to-date with everything in Des Moines and Washington, D.C.
We want to hear from readers and host a good conversation on your opinion page.
With that in mind: We have to be careful here in the newsroom about letters supporting or opposing a candidate for elected office. Too often, candidate-centered letters are really veiled political ads this time of year. Many are sent with good intentions. Others could be template letters — campaigns create the content and they find a local supporter to plug in his or her name at the bottom.
Broadcasters charge campaigns and political action groups for their messages of support or opposition. Our newspaper space has value, too. So, please, for the next couple of months (and as future elections approach) we renew our request for readers to focus on local, state and national issues in general. Avoid endorsing a specific candidate in any letters that come our way.
If you want to strongly support or oppose a party or candidate in a specific race, we encourage you to purchase a space that gets seen by thousands of readers.
Again, please accept our standing invitation to share your personal views or experiences about the direction of the country, state or Dickinson County. In an area checkered with lakes, most folks don't want to make a lot of waves, but this newspaper reaches smart people who are engaged in their community. So, contribute to the dialogue.
We'll set aside a space for you right here.