Candidates’ Values Matter


Candidates’ values matter because we are entrusting big decisions to their judgement. In my view, an especially important value is: Does the candidate believe in democracy? A recent letter by Hanson and Skolnik asked two highly informative questions on this matter, i.e., did Joe Biden win the 2020 election fairly and was there an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The correct answers are yes and yes, and any other answers are inconsistent with belief in democracy.

All four Democratic candidates for Council (Cull, Hand, Havemann, and Ryti) answered yes immediately in their own letter. James Wernicke (L) also answered yes in the public comments for the Hanson and Skolnik letter. Sharon Dry (R) and Reggie Page (R) have given no public answer I’m aware of, which is concerning. Even more concerning, Gary Stradling stated the following in comments on social media:

It is not surprising that some folks want to deflect attention from the compelling local issues of Los Alamos County: Sufficient housing, county support for local business development, and utilities and infrastructure. 

We are a data-focused town, and I have data. In the months I have been knocking on doors all over town, leading with my clear statement on needing sufficient housing, 90+% of our residents have answered positively, many dozens have been wildly enthusiastic, and only three have asked me about national politics. That’s right, three. I candidly answered those three with my simple view, and we went on to discuss the real issues the people of Los Alamos care about. Lets not be deflected.

There’s a lot to unpack here — for example, anecdotes gathered from a non-random sample and interpreted/counted via some unspecific procedure are not data — but I want to focus on the democratic values issue. Gary evaded the simple questions, concealing his values on an important leadership issue and attempting to pitch them as irrelevant national concerns.

Does Gary believe in democracy? He has provided no evidence that he does, and when asked directly he avoids giving a straight answer. The fair conclusion is that he does not. I encourage citizens to consider this when choosing their votes.