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Needed: Honest candidates on campaign trail Tell North Platte what you think
Photo by Bulletin graphics
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Velma Dawson
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Sam Ady
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Don Bartman
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Steven Coleman
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Charles Cumpston
Photo by Joe Chitwood
George Earl Day, Sr.
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Ron Hornbacher
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Lena Nelson

Velma Dawson, 94, has never seen our country or our government in the bad shape it’s in today. 

“It’s time to get rid of all of them and get new people in office,” she says.

On Tuesday, May 13, primary elections will be held and candidates will be chosen to run in the general election.

Nebraskans will be electing a new governor, a U.S. senator and two U.S. congressmen. Several Republican candidates are vying to advance to the November ballot and the chance to represent us.

As Election Day nears, the public will be saturated with television and radio advertisements. Candidates voice their positions and philosophies on issues and bash the opposition, doing everything they can to win a close race. 

And then many times, campaign statements turn out to contradict what the candidates do after they are elected. 

Many times, people elected to office make statements that come back to haunt them.

 “Read my lips, no new taxes,” said former president George H. W. Bush to a national Republican convention. Later, he signed an income tax increase into law.

“If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan,” said President Barack Obama during the 2012 campaign, a few months before millions of health insurance plans were cancelled as Obama’s health care reform moved ahead.

Coffee drinkers meet around Lincoln County to carry on election year conversations.

“Vote all of them out” one says. 

“Yes, they are all liars, can’t believe anything they say,” says another in agreement.

Coffee drinkers agree that going to Washington turns good men into crooks.

In coffee shops across the country, the administration, congress, and often the courts are looked upon unfavorably.

Laying aside coffee shop wisdom, what do average voters believe? To find out, we randomly talked to people around North Platte, and we asked:

Do you believe what candidates say in their campaigns?

Here’s what we found.

Sam Ady: Yes, I do think they believe what they say.  However, I think they will change the wording depending on who they are talking to in order to make it appealing to their audience.

Don Bartman: No, they don’t believe what they say, it is just a political game they play at every election. The only time they care about us is during that time and the only reason they do is to try and get our vote.

Steven Coleman:  No, they always say they are going to change things. For example, they will run saying “I am going to get rid of Obamacare.” They say that, even though they know they can’t do it without other politicians agreeing.

Charles Cumpston: No, they will say whatever they want to get elected.

Velma Dawson: Some of them say what they believe, but I am afraid that they end up doing much differently than what they say.

George Earl Day, Sr: I would say about 60% believe what they say. I am afraid many are just entering elections to use the position as a stepping stone up the ladder. I also believe that some of them are just plain liars.

Ron Hornbacher: No, because it’s impossible to say what you are going to do when you are not yet elected.

Lena Nelson: I think candidates believe what they say, and say as much as they can of what they believe, but they can’t say everything or they won’t get certain backing needed to get elected. In fact I think it is ok to compromise on some issues in order to get the right candidate elected; as long as the issue doesn’t hurt anyone. For example don’t decide not to help feed the hungry in order to help a special interest group. 

What must a candidate or elected official do to not only get your vote, but gain your confidence and continued support?

Ady: You have to go with your gut feelings and trust that you made the right choice. The proof that lets you know if you will stick with them is seeing what they do when they get on the job.

Bartman: You have to look at the person running. See if they have “heart”. They have to be passionate in what they believe.  If they don’t have those two qualities, they will end up corrupted. Just like in sports they have to love the game. That’s who wins and keeps my vote.

Coleman: To get my vote they just need to be honest. I want them to just tell me that when they are elected they will do what they can for the people who elected them. If they win, and continue to try to do what they said, I will stand behind them.

Cumpston: To get my vote, they have to tell me what they plan to do and if they do as much as they can after they are elected I will vote for them again.

Dawson: To get my vote I want them to tell me the truth. Then keep their promises and I will keep supporting them.

Day: I think to get my vote, the candidate would have to deal with issues that I care about, and someone who would do things that benefit my beliefs.  Then, after elected, they do what they said they would, I will back them 100% and they will keep my vote every election.

Hornbacher: The candidate must have a good past history of things he has accomplished in life. You must look close at what he has done. Remember what he has done in the past is much more important than what he says he will do. As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

Nelson: I have my own ideas, so I listen and lineup to support candidates that believe what I do. Then if they promised me they would do something, they need to uphold it to keep my support. It is easy to promise something but much harder to actually do what you promised.

Do you think politicians will say most anything to get elected or will they speak and act on what they honestly believe?

Ady: Most will twist the words around to get elected, so they probably don’t honestly believe what they are saying.

Bartman: I think when are trying to get elected, they say what they honestly believe is best for the people, and if elected they start out trying to do that. The problem is that after a while, it seems that the system corrupts them.

Coleman: I feel most of them try to speak honestly. Then after they are elected, they get in with power hungry people, see the opportunity to obtain wealth and power, and forget where they came from.

Cumpston: I think they might believe what they say when they are running for office. I even think they try to do what they said they would at first, but when they have been there for a while, lobbyists and special interest groups influence their decisions.

Dawson: You want them to tell the truth, but any more it seems you just don’t know whether to believe them or not. If you find out they weren’t telling the truth, it is too late to do anything about it. About all you can do is listen to what they say and think it through before you vote. One thing I know for sure; something has to change the direction our country is going.

Day Sr: Many will say anything to be elected. The real problem is too many people just sit back and complain. People need to stand up and get involved. We need to take back our government. My thought is: “Don’t steal, the government doesn’t need competition.”

"More importantly, I know that government cannot solve our problems. I think the only answer is Christ," Day said.

Hornbacher: I believe most of them have good intentions. In fact, I believe most of them are really good people. It seems after they are elected, it take a little while for them to learn to be bad.

Nelson: When you don’t know a candidate personally, it is hard to know what they really believe. I really think most of them start with good intentions but later find it is easier to be swayed by others.


Many people declined to respond. When asked their opinion, they answered: “Don’t ask me, I don’t care,” “Whatever” or “It doesn’t matter.”

Most of those were young adults. Hopefully, they will recognize what politicians say and do affects them, and that people can and do influence our government.

 “If people my age don’t start caring and getting involved, my kids and grandkids will be in serious trouble,” said Lena Nelson, the youngest person who answered our questions. “I think the young people who seem not to care have never had someone teach them the importance of getting involved. I was lucky — my granddad instilled it in me.”

Steven Coleman’s statement should help people realize that getting the truth from those running for election has nothing to do with party affiliation.  

 “I am a lifelong registered Democrat, but let me tell you, no one should vote for any of those in office now, Republican, Democrat or Independent,” Coleman said. “Things are a mess. It’s time to get rid of all of them and get new people in office and hopefully make some positive changes in our country.”

Velma Dawson was born in 1919. She has heard it all when it comes to politics. 

“As far as Washington goes, I believe whenever someone in the current administration stands up to speak, you can’t believe one word they say,” she said.

One thing is certain, everyone we talked to is looking for candidates who will say what they mean and mean what they say.

As Americans, we are blessed with the opportunity to vote. It is our responsibility to examine candidates and cast ballots. Likewise, it should be every candidate’s responsibility to tell the voters what they believe and what they plan to do if elected – and it is our job to press them until they do.

We the people need to be independent lobbyists for ourselves and the good of our country.

It is evident that voters want politicians not only to mean what they say, but to do what they say they will if they are elected.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/21/2014
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