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EDITORIAL: Our decision to not endorse candidates in 2015—and likely the years ahead

Each week, we provide a voice on people and issues important to Loudoun County. It has to do with the notion of independence.

We work hard to provide a balance of views on our pages, on our website and on mobile devices. We try to be open-minded in our coverage and in our editorials. We strive to approach issues with facts, knowledge and context. We pull good ideas from opposing sides of political thought.

We're pragmatic. We back ideas we think will work. Ideology is immaterial.

So why do we do that for most of the year then turn around and choose sides in a bitter partisan election? We’ve come to recognize that the old notion of informed influence known as the political endorsement undermines the idea of independence.

We strive to be an honest broker of truth and opinion for the community. So this election cycle we’re eliminating a relic of news organizations: the political endorsement. We won’t endorse candidates in November’s local elections.

That doesn’t mean we’ll let candidates off the hook.

Our mission is to create coverage, as well as to establish forums, on critical issues impacting Loudoun County in this election. We’ll help define those issues for citizens. We’ll put the candidates on the record, but won’t let them steal the agenda. We’ll report on their records or their plans to solve problems. Then we’ll let citizens decide whom they should elect.

Give light and people will find the way, said Ella Baker, the civil rights and human rights activist from Norfolk.

We start this week with Senior Reporter Trevor Baratko’s front page story on key local races to watch. In subsequent stories, we’ll explores the issues and assess the positions of candidates in each of the races.

Over the next couple months, we’ll also invite candidates in key races to in-depth interviews with our reporters and our Editorial Board. We may define the issues differently than they do, but we won’t be confused by political misdirection. We’ll set a community agenda based on ideals, values and vision. Principles are more important than politicians.

Our goal is to dismiss partisan pettiness and to reject demagoguery. We recognize that there isn't one right choice that suits everyone. But we believe that informed citizens of good will can debate issues openly, reconcile differences respectfully and come to solutions that serve the common good.

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