In the evolution of elections there was the 1950s yard signs, the 1960s emergence of television and the 2008 wave of social media means any candidate can reach voters with a phone and Facebook account.
With each upgrade of technology that has infiltrated politics politicians become more accessible, more transparent and closer to the voters. Arguably, that accessibility makes them appear more human, more trusted. Being able to see a candidate on television was a milestone in American politics. Now, direct communication is possible. Voters and candidates can interact, and information is sharable. The Internet has become the one avenue that breaks down the barrier between candidate and voter.
But for the local voter, the Pueblo voter, there is little online information. In District 2 – Pueblo’s East Side – online information about the candidates is sparse. Nothing exists online for District 4 voters either. This isn’t to say traditional campaigning doesn’t exist. 18 x 24 inch signs have blossomed in yards all over town bearing names and buzzwords.
Today, it’s expected of politicians to have a web presence, yet so many local politicians have opted out. Many of this year’s candidates do not have an online web presence, which consequently has meant public discussion of issues the next council will face has been quiet.
For the voter who wants to hear directly from the candidate, who wants to draw conclusions and do his or her own research there are few options beyond finding an email and directly contacting the politician.
Here is the list of the 2015 municipal candidates and their social media accounts:
There is a Facebook page for Mater’s campaign, but no information on his platform. Mater does offer posts on business (he says the city needs to be more business-friendly) and education (“We need to have a strong education system, which will be a major factor to bringing jobs and businesses.”)
Winner is using a personal Facebook page called Pueblo HouseofShame. Some posts do feature campaign efforts. Though, to the general public those aren’t viewable.
Website, which points out Dr. Sbarbaro’s top issues for Pueblo: trash and weeds, economic development and jobs, public safety, education, health and water. Dr. Sbarbaro gives little information on his stance on these issues, what problems he sees the city facing or solutions.
There is no Facebook candidate page, but his website does direct you to his personal profile.
Member at large (four-year term)
Laeke’s website provides the most information for voters out of the 14 candidates. He cites wanting to work on specific issues such as getting busses to run more often and after school programs among beautifying the city and improving infrastructure.
There is no website and no Facebook page for Francher’s campaign.
The current Pueblo City Council member is the only council member seeking reelection. He does not have a website or Facebook page for his campaign.
There is no website and no Facebook page for Ramos’ campaign.
District 2 (Pueblo’s East side, downtown, Belmont and the university)
Wilson doesn’t have a website for her campaign, but does feature a post on running for her council on her Occupy the Roads website.
There is a Facebook group for Wilson’s bid for council, but it’s closed to the public.
Arnold A. Montoya
There is no website or Facebook page for Montoya’s campaign.
There is no website or Facebook page for this former District 2 council member who served from 1994 until 2003.
Atencio, a former city council member, has no website or Facebook page for his campaign. Atencio stepped down from his District 2 seat in 2011. In 2013, he unsuccessfully ran for an at-large seat.
Latino has no website or Facebook page for his campaign.
District 4 (Stretches from the Blocks to Bessemer to the city’s southern limits)
R. Kenneth O’Neal
There is no website or Facebook page for O’Neal’s campaign.
There is no website or Facebook page for this former council member who was term limited in 2011 from the District 4 seat. He stepped down and supported former-council member Sandy Daff’s run for the seat. She resigned last year midterm. John Cordova was appointed to the Daff’s seat. Cordova is leaving council to run for a county commissioner seat.