Sunday, October 18, 2015

Candidates need to address key issues of West

By John L. Smith
...When it comes to the obvious need to make great changes in how we address the issue of forest management and wild-land fire fighting, there's almost no public appreciation for the importance of this very Western issue.

Presidential candidates appear to know the importance of water law and drought in the West, but you will rarely hear one speak to the issues with a sense of passion and in any real detail.
But that's the way it is in the West. Our votes are essential, but I don't think our real needs are understood.

The public lands debate is another topic that promises to elicit a polite and unremarkable response from most candidates. The stewardship of vast expanses of land by the federal government is an important Western issue not just in Nevada, where 85 percent of the real estate is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies. The uneven enforcement of the law was a flash point of controversy long before Logandale rancher Cliven Bundy entered the public eye.

...The latest crop of presidential candidates don't need to enter an interview wearing a Stetson, but it would be refreshing if even a few offered a substantial vision for issues unique to our side of the Mississippi.

They might even win a few votes in the process.

Whoever wins the White House next, let's hope the next president wants what's best for the West — and is willing to expend energy on issues important to us.

No comments: