Coming next month, the News Press will join a concerted effort with our CNHI sister papers on a project called Pulse of the Voters. The project will focus on local thoughts and feelings about the direction of our country. A major focus will be about how the people of Payne County feel about Donald Trump and his presidency, but is not limited to the White House. We will find our direction from the people who are willing to discuss these issues with us.

It’s no secret that Payne County voted, like most of the state, to elect Trump to the nation’s highest office.

We are seeking a cross-section of people, varying political affiliations and demographics, maybe someone who was registered to vote but decided not to. Veterans and scholars with blue, white or pink collars – all will be welcome to the discussion.

Often our voice gets lost in national political coverage because we don’t live in a swing state nor a large metro area. But those voices definitely count for something at the ballot box. Even if people feel ignored, maybe especially when they feel ignored, we still vote.

People are now joining movements and organizations they may not have thought to be a part of only a few years ago. Perhaps you’ve become energized, or perhaps you’ve become demoralized. We want to know either way.

The biggest point we want to make is that we aren’t pushing an agenda. We want genuine personal stories that will supply the narrative. We aren’t seeking support for an already established narrative. We hope to meet you at your homes, in the coffee groups or her at the office.

Often people don’t like to disclose how they voted, which is fine, but people usually have no problem complaining when things aren’t going well. That’s also fine.

It’s not right to paint any group, especially the electorate, with a broad brush. Groups are a collections of individual and each individual has his or her own reason for supporting an ideology, political affiliation or candidate.

Everyone knows we are in a time of great polarization whenever politics are involved. Whether that gap narrows or widens depends on how much we are willing to try and understand one another. Ignorance thrives on darkness. People like to shut down arguments before they explore the source of the argument.

Your arguments matter. Your stories are important to us.

The first articles will be published in mid-March, from there we will continue to follow our subjects for the next few years up through the midterm elections and 2020 presidential race.

Please let us know if you can help us in the project. It will be a great public service to our readers. Anyone interested should contact editor@stwnewspress.com or call 405-372-5000 x201. We look forward to hearing from you.

Beau Simmons is the managing editor for the Stillwater News Press. Email him at bsimmons@stwnewspress.com. Find him on Twitter @RealBeauSimmons.

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