Leader Blues

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

SAT 5-20-6 EDITORIAL >> Retain Sen. Capps

Local voters will face a long list of candidates in next Tuesday’s Democratic and Republican primaries, from quorum court members to attorney general, from sheriff to lieutenant governor. We’ve tried to profile most of them in a series of news articles and have endorsed many of them.

Today we endorse Sen. Paul Capps of Searcy, a veteran legislator who faces Gene Mason of Jacksonville in the Democratic primary in Dist. 29. Capps’ political career goes back to the 1960s, having risen to House Speaker before term limits forced almost every legislator into retirement.

But Capps came back four years ago, when he ran a spirited campaign against Rep. Pat Bond, D-Jacksonville, for the Senate seat left vacant by the outgoing Bill Gwatney, D-Jacksonville, who also was term-limited.

Capps is allowed one more term, and we see no reason to turn him out of office. He knows the intricacies of law-making and has represented the area well. A conscientious legislator, he’s not too happy with the pork-barrel projects lawmakers send their districts at budget time, nor is he pleased with the state’s easy reliance on sales taxes that burden the poor the most.
It’s unlikely Capps will cut out pork and lower sales taxes, but at least he’s a conscience in the Senate and could serve as a guide for younger lawmakers learning the ropes.

Mason is bright, an energetic letter-writer to this newspaper and a part-time teacher. He might have a better chance at winning in four years when he faces a less formidable candidate who is not the incumbent.

There are several other candidates who deserve our endorsement, but, frankly, it’s not easy making endorsements for local offices: Many of the candidates are our friends and neighbors who are running against qualified candidates equally deserving of holding office. In fact, it’s amazing that citizen-politicians make the sacrifice of public service for very little pay, and what they get in return is mostly headaches. And yet, they make a difference in their communities, and may the best of them win.