Originally created 01/18/01

Yes to Cheeks bill

Sen. Don Cheeks, D-Augusta has the support of sheriffs and district attorneys for his Senate Bill 9, which would make elected lawmen's offices eligible for nonpartisan status.

He deserves everyone's support. There's no reason why sheriffs, district attorneys or even clerks of court should be partisan seats.

Unfortunately, Cheeks may not get the backing he needs to pass the bill. There are a few legislators who prefer the status quo. Sen. Charles Walker, D-Augusta, won't sign off on it and, once again, this is an issue that boils down to race. Right now, for a sheriff to win in Richmond County, candidates must cater to the African-American vote.

But race needs to come out of the equation. Sheriffs and prosecutors should be independently elected on the basis of their experience and character alone.

The whole Democrat-Republican thing is somewhat farcical when it comes to these seats. For example, when Ronnie Strength ran for sheriff as a Democrat, did anyone truly believe he's a Democrat? Hardly. He only ran under that label to get the vote.

Without Walker's help, Cheeks may be spitting in the wind. But he's doing what's right. So should Sen. Walker.


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