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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Looking beyond campaign ads

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The April election is coming soon, and there is no better way to impart change and make your voice heard than by participating in a local election. You’ve probably noticed that campaigns are heating up a bit. You may have had a candidate or two show up at your door. You’ve likely received mail pieces and even seen political ads. Some of these ads are positive and provide substance. Others are vague and some tread into the negative by blasting their opponents, their ideas, and even their political party—though many of these local elections are nonpartisan.

Voters are so used to negativity in campaigns, it’s no wonder most tend to tune out during election cycles. This is where the problem lies. Don’t fall into that trap. There are many political campaigns and candidates that depend on creating noise and chaos. Why do they do this? Because it works. Because we react to it. And many will vote because of it or stay away from the polls because of it.

I often speak about the importance of holding our elected officials accountable. We must demand the same from those who choose to run for public office. When you take the time to review a candidate’s qualifications for office and what they propose for the office, you must also weigh their general demeanor and how the person conducts themselves in public. We are used to reacting to the candidates and campaigns that say and do the most absurd things. We often overlook the steady, pragmatic candidates who truly want to serve and provide solid ideas to improve our community.

The nonpartisan Consolidated Election on April 4 is right around the corner. You still have time to educate yourself and get to know the candidates and what they propose in the event they are elected before you vote. Multiple candidate forums throughout Naperville provide this opportunity. The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Naperville Election Resources webpage offers a quick glance ‘Voter Guide’ on key matters impacting Naperville, as well as a ‘Candidate Questionnaire’ that gave candidates a chance to respond (in their own words) to important questions we all should be asking for both the City Council and Mayoral races. Visit www.naperville.net/naperville-election-resources.

Look beyond the campaign rhetoric – the ads – and get the facts before you vote.

Editor’s Update, March 24, 2023 / A PAC called “Naperville Forward” sent a mailer that arrived in thousands of local mailboxes on March 10. The mailer promoted a slate of 12 candidates. By omission, the carefully-worded piece implies that more than half of the 27 candidates running in the current local Consolidated Election aim to “ban books,” a claim that is not the case.  This monthly column, “Looking Beyond Campaign Ads,” written by Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce Director of Public Affairs Beth Goncher featured in the March edition of PN, reminds readers to be wise and to know the facts.

Thanks for being an educated voter. This Naperville Forward initiative was addressed by three candidates during “Public Forum” along with a variety of other local concerns expressed by a long list of residents. Then Naperville Forward was called out by Mayor Steve Chirico. The Mayor also brought up the mailer under “New Business” at the March 21 City Council meeting. We aim to avoid hearsay, soundbites and social media. Click here for the link to the straight scoop and watch Monday’s meeting on the City’s website.

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Beth Goncher
Beth Goncherhttp://naperville.net
Beth Goncher wrote this column for Naperville Chamber of Commerce Director of Government Affairs. She can be reached at bethgoncher@gmail.com or (630) 777-1577.
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