DR. MARK PORTERIE — Know who you’re voting for and why

Published 12:05 am Sunday, October 2, 2022

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As a young boy, I remember my father teaching me what seemed to be his method of “the right way to vote.”

My father believed not only was it his civil right to vote, but it should have been a crime for anyone who did not vote. He was very opinionated and staunch in his views. One of them was the notion that everyone should vote a straight democratic ticket.

In my father’s eyes, there was no need to review a voting ballot; he preferred to just press one button that would take care of his completely democratic stance. I respect my father for his enthusiasm for elections and the voting process. I even experienced his campaigning for candidates he felt shared his views. He stood firm in his beliefs, and there was no changing his mind — ever.

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If my father were alive today, I wonder what his thoughts would be on some of the issues that now loom over our country. An avid hunter, Dad possessed a love for rifles, hand guns, knives, etc. He believed in the law of the land and felt those who broke the law should be punished.

I can remember my father telling me many, many times: if I went out into the world and got into trouble and ended up in jail, I was not to call him. He was not wasting his money getting me out of jail; I was not to contact him or my mother.

Honestly, I really think my mother would have had something different to say about her baby being in jail. Needless to say, I believed him; and to this day, I know he would not have hurriedly come to my rescue. As I think back on the values my father exhibited, I would have to say they were very conservative.

In November of this year, we will go to the polls and vote in a mid-term election. Before we arrive at our voting locations, I strongly suggest we first research each candidate asking for our vote in the local election, then state, and finally federal.

It is important we do our due diligence and understand how each candidate has voted in the past and what have they stood for when it comes to issues concerning our community and personal quality of life. It is to our advantage that we read each proposition before we go to the poll and understand how each proposition affects our community and personal well being.

Please do not wait until you have arrived at the poll to read those long propositions, because you probably will not have the patience, nor the time, to do so. It is to our advantage to learn how those that are asking to make decisions concerning our city and state are equipped and be our best representative.

When I vote, I will have done my homework and will vote on who is the best candidate to make my community and my family safe. One of the most critical issues for me is safety for my community and state.

I have a concern about the rising homicide rates and increases in other types of crime in our city. I have a concern with individuals being able to purchase firearms without any type of education or training before they are allowed to purchase a weapon.

I have questions on inflation and what it means to our future economy. I have a concern about the weight of the state assessment test on our children in Texas. I have a concern with the way our lawmakers make decisions based on financial gains for themselves.

With all of these concerns, I have to really do my homework to see who would be the best candidate to represent me personally. I can’t look at color, gender, age or wealth. I have to investigate the thought processes of each candidate and how these long-written propositions will best serve our community. To be even clearer, once I conclude my investigation of all candidates, my vote may go toward a democrat or perhaps even a republican candidate.

There are issues that I want to be addressed and I do not think that one party alone can solve these issues. There are strengths and weaknesses on both sides; and what needs to happen, is that we take the strengths on both sides and merge the two to create greatness.

In order to move in that direction, everyone must come to the table with respect for the other first, then understand the power of COMPROMISE second. We have to understand everyone cannot get 100 percent of everything they want. Instead, we should focus on how to get the best out of everyone for the betterment of our community, state and country.

In 2022, I am not totally sure how my father would feel about voting for split parties, but I do know he would have a definite opinion on gun laws, those that break the law, invasion of our free land and the large number of homeless in our area.

My father would want what is best for his family, community and this great country that we live in. I know he would want my family and I to feel safe when we walk into a grocery store, or even into our home that we have worked so hard to own.

For that, I think we owe my father, and all those that have gone before us to fight for our right to vote, to think hard before we enter the voting booth and submit our election choice ticket.

Dr. Mark Porterie is superintendent of schools for the Port Arthur Independent School District. He can be reached at mporterie@paisd.org.