Although I usually try to stay away from editorial-type articles, I felt this one was important enough to write. So here goes my thoughts on our recent elections.

If there is one thing we have learned from this past election it would be that too much money was spent on the campaigns. We may have the freedom to vote, but does the one who spends the most money win, or the one who can raise more money from outside interests? Does it mean that only the rich can run for public office? These are questions we all should be asking with the cost of elections skyrocketing.

It would be easy enough to limit the money spent, the number of television and newspaper ads that run, the number of campaign stops made, the number of emails and phone calls and all the other marketing ploys used. For it is a big marketing campaign. The playing field needs to be leveled.

As a voter all I need is the facts, not innuendoes, not half truths, or things taken out of content, or criticisms that have no affect on a candidate's eligibility. Too often that is not what we get. Even media sways the truth rather than printing both sides of a story.

As a voter I need to know a candidates qualifications, his or her experience, perhaps his or her Congressional voting record if they are a member; I would like to know a little bit of their personal lives and their religious beliefs, i.e. their stance on marriage and abortion, etc. As a voter we want them to be morally upstanding, truthful, intelligent, with leadership and diplomatic abilities. They should be well-versed in our country's problems and the world's issues.

In our last presidential election, I am not sure I received all the truthful information I needed as a voter. When one learns that $16,040,000 was spent on that election, $852 M by Obama and $752 M by Romney one has to think of what better ways that money could be spent. (New York Times report)

I can think of many ways to spend that amount of money. How about you? So here are my top ten ways that money should have been spent. I'm sure you could think of many more ways.

10. - Go to the IRS and hire someone who can simplify its current forms and have Congress make the tax burden more equal over the board. Don't talk about those loopholes, do something about them.

9. - Provide better opportunities for educating our youth, more emphasis on education and good teachers and less on new school buildings.

8. - More scholarships and no-interest loans for needy college students who are American citizens.

7. - Get production back to U.S. soil and rely less on foreign manufacturers. More jobs, less trade deficit; seems like a win-win to me.

6. - Take another look at health care and find out why it is costing our businesses and industry so much money in health insurance costs for their employees; this is where many businesses fall out and fail; it costs too much for health care. Are all those tests and sophisticated equipment actually providing better health for our citizens or just costing more and more money?

5. - Give back some of the monies pulled out of the states for good and needed programs to benefit its citizens.

4. - More emphasis and dollars on conservation and environmental issues. Our soil, our land and resources should be conserved.

3. - Provide more educational and health opportunities for our veterans.

2. - Pay down our national debt.

1. - Give that money to soup kitchens and food banks all over America; it will do more good.

Well, you might argue the point with me and find many other and even better ideas, but you get the picture. I just can't see spending so much on elections. In my scope of acquaintances I heard no one say they wanted more television ads, or campaign signs. Less was what I was hearing.

Even gubernatorial and Congressional campaigns spent lots of money. Again one has to wonder if you have to be rich to run for public office successfully. If we can say yes, then we better be looking at election reform for it is undermining our country' s very ideals. I don't know if you feel this way, but I want a qualified candidate, not the one with the most money or the most sophisticated campaign managers. We all need to think about this and call for reform where it's needed.

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Jeannine Roediger has lived on a family farm all her life, first as a farmer's daughter and now as a farmer's wife. She writes weekly for the Times Bulletin and enjoys gardening, quilting, cooking, bird watching and writing.