Political games

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Dear Editor:

Please allow me the opportunity to explain what has happened since a letter voicing my concerns regarding the Furnas County Sheriff's race was published. It is my sincere belief that what has occurred needs to be share with the voters of Furnas County.

I sent copies of a letter to the editor stating my observations and opinions of the Republican candidate for sheriff. These letters were sent to all four weekly newspapers in Furnas County and the Southwest Nebraska News. On Tuesday (Oct. 29) a half hour before the news deadline, I received a phone call from the local editor stating I would have to place my letter as a campaign ad, which I did because of the importance of its contents. During our discussion, I asked why my opinion letter would have to be paid to be published. I was told that if my letter was printed, the candidate also wanted to use editorial space to respond to my letter. This surprised me, as the only people I thought would have seen the letter were the above listed publications. Now the Republican candidate was ready to respond to a letter that hadn't even been printed yet.

Upon checking the publications to see if my letter was printed, I discovered that of the five, two of them had published my letter. The local paper I paid to run the ad and the Oxford paper. Again, to my surprise, almost directly under my letter in the Oxford newspaper was a written response from Gregg Meyers. The same response as on page 3 of the Nov. 1 McCook Gazette.

Based on my experiences, I believe the political games that are being played behind the scenes are a far cry from the campaign ads that stress honesty, fairness and professionalism. My standards for these three qualities were set by a law enforcement officer I was privileged to have as a father-in-law. The late Jay Nelson, Chief of Police of Cambridge, lived these three qualities. He didn't need to promote himself; his actions spoke volumes for him.

To comment on Gregg Meyers published response, the key question I asked was still left unanswered. Of the endorsements for the Republican candidate, why have there not been any from your neighbors or citizens of the community (Wilsonville) in which you live?


Mark Harpst


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