Our View: Bettis for coroner | VailDaily.com

Our View: Bettis for coroner

the Vail Daily Editorial Board

In Colorado at least, Election Day doesn’t mean what it once did. Ballots this week were mailed to every voter in the state, making Nov. 4 more a day for counting and waiting than standing in line to participate in our representative republic.

Since the process starts so early this year, the Vail Daily is going to start early with endorsements for state and local positions. As we’ve mentioned before, we offer these endorsements mostly as more information than as what we think voters should do.

That’s a good thing, since anyone betting based on our endorsements — not that we’d ever encourage that; oh, no — would be even or perhaps down a little.

We never endorsed former two-term Eagle County Commissioner Peter Runyon. Our lack of approval didn’t seem to hurt him at vote-counting time. And former (and probably future) Vail Town Council member Kevin Foley, who we like quite a lot, has half-jokingly asked us to never endorse him for anything.

But we do bring candidates in for interviews — 23 this year — and endorse them based on those interviews, as well as provide profile articles, question-and-answer pieces and what candidates say at public forums. We believe that our up-close view of the campaigns can help provide voters with information they might not otherwise have.

We’ll start today by endorsing Kara Bettis for Eagle County coroner.

Bettis has been in office 12 years, is seeking a fourth term and is being challenged for the first time this year, by Sue Franciose.

Franciose has brought sharp elbows and fire to the campaign, with claims Bettis hasn’t done enough to further the cause of tissue donation from the recently deceased. Franciose has also claimed Bettis doesn’t do enough with her position and has vowed to be a more public and active coroner.

Bettis has benefited from this swift kick in the tail from an energetic challenger. We’ve seen — and heard — more from her than usual in the past several months.

So why stick with the incumbent?

There’s a lot to be said for experience in a job. And talking with Bettis, there are things about this job — most jobs, actually — that you can’t know until you’ve held that position for a while.

We believe Bettis can do a better job — something that applies to most of us — but also believe she’s a dedicated professional who believes in the value of her work.

Our system favors incumbents, and rightly so. Absent gross incompetence or malfeasance in office, challengers should have to clear a high bar in order to unseat a sitting office-holder.

Francoise has made a passionate case for her candidacy — she’s a passionate person. Her work at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center is praiseworthy, and we believe she might put her passions about tissue donation and education to better use without holding public office.

In our view, Bettis hasn’t done anything that would disqualify her from serving another term, if that’s what voters want.

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