I appreciate The Argus-Press giving the candidates for several of Shiawassee County’s most important elective offices the platform in Monday’s edition to present their analyses of the problems they intend to solve and their differing strategies for accomplishing their goals.

Both candidates for both the sheriff’s office and the prosecutor’s office laid out their qualifications for the job and their areas of focus extremely well.

There were only two candidates, however, who expressed that transparency is a major problem among many of our elected officials, especially in the departments of government that they would be leading.

Joe Ibarra for sheriff and Robert Hinojosa for prosecutor offer Shiawassee County an unprecedented opportunity for transparency and for more active involvement by citizens. This county has long been policed by a “good-ol’-boy” network of law enforcement, including the prosecutor’s office and certain judges (most judgeships in Shiawassee County have traditionally been reserved for the prosecuting attorneys who uphold this exclusive network).

Hinojosa has promised to publish prosecution statistics quarterly as well as to include regular old “out-of-network” citizens like you and me in an advisory council.

Ibarra has promised an elimination of the “smoke and mirrors” tricks that the sheriff’s office has been plagued by and a straightforward, no-nonsense approach to community-building and to police-citizen relations.

The question we all owe it to these candidates, to ourselves and to our fellow citizens to ask is this: Which candidates for every elective office on the ballot are going to embrace an equal partnership with the citizens of this county and work with us in building a community that can successfully meet the plethora of unprecedented crises that our county is facing?

Theresa Rathwell


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