On Tuesday, the topic of an article's relevancy became the hot debate among some readers of the Amarillo Pioneer.
In case you missed it, on Tuesday, an article was published in the Amarillo Pioneer regarding the ongoing indictment of the spouse of one of two Republicans running for Potter County District Clerk. The article reported the results of a background check of both candidates (and their spouses) that combed through Potter and Randall County court records, which found that one candidate's spouse is currently under indictment in a felony controlled substance case.
The question was raised as to why this article was published, as the actions were of the spouse of a candidate and not of the candidate themselves. The reason why this article was relevant is because of the office that the candidate is seeking. The candidate is seeking a spot in Potter County that carries many administrative duties relating to felony courts in Potter County. Among these administrative duties are records keeping, fee collection and the selection of juries. This alone made the actions important, as the spouse's indictment could potentially affect the candidate's ability to perform their duties, if the candidates wins the March 6th Republican primary.
This is also not to make light of the candidate's situation. The candidate's spouse, in question, could very well deal with addiction. Addiction is a very serious thing that should never be the butt of a joke or a political talking point. Personally, I have seen close friends and family struggle with addiction and have always tried to support organizations that help those who do struggle with addiction. This article, however, was not a piece over addiction, but over the candidate's ability to perform their duties in a way that is impartial and proper for the office that they are seeking to hold.
Another interesting comparison that was brought up was our choice to condemn other news outlets in Amarillo for running a story in 2017 regarding a school board member's DWI arrest. This story was off-base and was not relevant to that position for a few reasons.
First, the arrest in that case was for a misdemeanor offense, which would not have affected the official's eligibility to hold office. AISD rules, according to the School District's official website (AmaISD.org), require that a candidate not be finally convicted of a felony, which would not have happened in this particular case.
Secondly, the story of that offense was over two years old by the time that it went to print. In comparison, the details of the story published Tuesday were from December of 2017.
Finally, the elected official's charges would have been processed through county courts. The official in the 2017 story is a member of the Amarillo Independent School District board of trustees, and would not have to be concerned about his position being compromised by the case. Amarillo ISD has no kind of jurisdiction over any legal matters, other than personnel proceedings that take place within the district.
The staff of the Amarillo Pioneer always endeavors to provide premiere election coverage to our readers, as we feel that the most empowered electorate is an informed electorate. I would urge all of our readers to check out 2018 election coverage from the Amarillo Pioneer (dating all the way back to April of 2017) and the Amarillo Pioneer Voter Guide. It is also worth mentioning that multiple candidates, including both of those mentioned in yesterday's article, advertise with the Amarillo Pioneer and the Amarillo Pioneer purposefully does not make any endorsements in any election. By doing so, we aim to play no favorites with the candidates and to provide our readers "no-holds-barred," fact-based election coverage.
We will always work hard to earn your trust and to keep providing the best in Amarillo news that any outlet can offer. Thank you all for your understanding and thank you for reading Amarillo's only locally owned daily newspaper, the Amarillo Pioneer.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief