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posted: 9/13/2012 3:07 PM

Consider these ideas before you vote

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I appreciated your recent editorial "Conventional challenges for us all" and agree on the need to critically interpret what we hear. I have some other thoughts.

First, our economic situation is not solely the fault of the current president, his predecessor or either political party. Businesses have been shipping jobs overseas for decades, stripping away the "industry framework" we would typically build upon to get out of a recession. Technology has enabled it to happen at a faster pace than our innovation and education systems could keep up with. That has meant a lower standard of living, which will persist until we get our competitive advantage back (through innovation) and better align our workforce to 21st century jobs (through education). Improving trade agreements and fixing regulatory imbalances across the globe wouldn't hurt either. This didn't happen overnight and won't be solved overnight. So have realistic expectations.

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Second, since it's impossible to know everything that could happen, make sure you're comfortable with the candidates' general approach. Learn about their past experiences in as much detail as you can. Ask yourself -- were they thoughtful? Did they talk to a variety of experts? Consider all sides of an issue? Recognize everyone affected and address their needs as best they could?

Finally, remember that the president has one power that has a long-lasting impact on the country -- lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court. Think carefully about whom you want choosing any new justices, as their decisions will impact our personal lives and society as a whole for a long time to come.

Deirdre O'Riordan

Arlington Heights

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