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Dear Editor,

Perhaps some candidates for public office avoid stating where they stand because they think it’s unnecessary. They believe their looks, name or endorsements will carry them. Perhaps they are right.

Maybe they feel they are nice enough, personable enough, or have enough friends to win. Maybe so.

Perchance they bank on voters trusting them to always do the right thing or assume voters won’t dig into how they actually vote. That could be.

Possibly they fear being explicit could hurt their chances.

I respect politicians who specify their positions, suggesting they are upfront, studied, principled and committed.

Appearance, likability and status are important but insufficient to an intelligent selection of candidates. Learning how one votes or will vote is or should be the central question.

The role of a lawmaker is to enact wise legislation. Solid decision-making calls for constitutional understanding and application, and for the moral fiber to be steady and firm.

Policies matter. Laws and rules have long-term consequences.

Responsible legislators must make hard choices and sometimes find themselves in the minority or standing alone. Candidates vague on their platforms and positions throw into question their ability to depart from “groupthink.”

Cities, counties, states and nations need conscientious, values-based thinkers to combat government drift, which is common. The Establishment gets into a pattern; and its members, supported by special interests, ferociously fight to keep it, even though the pattern may be headed away from founding fundamentals.

Ultimately, the world needs officeholders and rank and file residents with the courage to challenge falsehoods, take issue with those who mislead, question the status quo, and trust but verify.

President Trump rightly brought to our attention the importance of putting a stop to things that past administrations condoned, such as China taking advantage of the United States in trade. That is statesmanship.

Breaking with tradition unsettles some but is part of assessment and course correction. Maturity calls for accepting, even appreciating, examination and different points of view. Free exchange of ideas, queries and concerns is key to advancing a healthy society and the agencies of government it creates.

Elected officials, of course, have a responsibility not only to explain why they support or oppose proposals but also to invite and consider public scrutiny.

True leadership isn’t speaking superficially. It is providing particulars.

Transparency is credible, honorable and honest.

Bruce King of Sugar City