Voters in Whitfield and Murray counties have it in their power to make some very important decisions on Tuesday.

Key elections will take place in both counties, elections which could go along way toward setting policies which will impact Northwest Georgia for years to come.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the area of education.

Republicans John Thomas and Louis Fordham are vying for the at large seat on the Whitfield County Board of Education. Both men have attractive qualities and have run largely positive campaigns (at least in public).

The political waters in Murray County have been a lot more turbulent. The school system has seen more than its share of controversy in recent months and that has helped spur interest in the three BOE seats which are up for grabs. Twelve candidates (seven Republicans and five Democrats) are seeking the three contested seats.

We hope voters in both counties will look past much of the heated rhetoric that comes up during a political campaign and focus on the legitimate attributes of the candidates. Neither school system needs board members more concerned with settling old scores or building political alliances than with working to improve public education.

A candidate whose focus is on attacking his opponent or spreading rumors and innuendo instead of building the case for his own worthiness is not the answer.

Both the Whitfield and Murray County systems face monumental challenges. Their primary mission — to provide good, basic educations to the public — requires board members to be be intelligent, honest, and fully committed to the success of the system. Anything less is a disservice to the taxpayers and students.

Decisions made by voters on Tuesday can do much to boost or limit the success of our schools and, in turn, our community.

Voters should take this responsibility seriously.

The Daily Citizen

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