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Column: Follow letter guidelines and join the debate

The first candidate endorsement letter appears in today’s edition. We hope many more reach our office before primary election day, Aug. 12.

There are several contested primary contests for statewide posts, but there also are four local ones: Red Wing Ward 4 and at-large, Goodhue County District 2 and 4. You are invited to weigh in on the issues and the candidates.

Here are the Republican Eagle’s parameters for letters to the editor:

•You may endorse a particular candidate only once during the entire campaign — between today and Nov. 4.

•You may write separate letters endorsing different candidates or different offices, but be aware that if the volume of letters exceeds the space available, we will give priority to people writing for the first time. Your second or third letter, therefore, may not see print.

We believe that the more citizens who join in the public debate, the better.

•No letter should exceed 350 words. Keep letters short and to the point.

All letters will be edited for content, length and grammar. If space requires major trimming, a letter may appear in a longer version online at

•Letters that add something to the debate have priority; we will edit letters that repeat what others have said.

For example: If four people write that candidate X's qualifications include having served on a planning commission, we may cut that statement after the first letter.

•We may group short letters from several people about the same candidate or issue under a single headline.

•Letters must be original. Form letters will be rejected.

•All election commentary must be signed. Include a daytime phone number so we can verify the authorship if necessary. This is especially important if you are writing to us for the first time or have a new email address.

•Letters in response to paid advertising will not be accepted.

Deadlines The deadline for letters that raise new issues before the primary election must reach our office by noon Monday Aug 4. We will publish those we are able to verify in the Aug. 6 edition.

The deadline for responses and any general endorsement letters is noon Thursday Aug. 7.

Candidates Special rules apply to candidates.

They may not use the opinion page as free advertising space. They are limited to one letter stating their positions and views and why people should vote for them.

However, candidates are free to discuss government decisions occurring before the election. For example, if a government body is going to act on an ordinance, anyone may join the debate.

After all, getting involved and wanting to have a say in our democracy is presumable why these people are running for office.

We look forward to hearing from everyone.