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While political parties are and have been an essential part of the American voting experience since the beginning of this Republic, we question whether they have a role to play in our local elections.

The debate over making local elections non-partisan has been had time and again, and we doubt it will change any time soon, if ever, especially since it feels like local political parties are having an ever larger influence.

We heard candidates of both parties bemoaning the partisanship of their own parties and the emphasis on national issues that, frankly, have no bearing on local officials.

The people we elect to represent us here in Newton County should be the ones with the best life and professional experience and those who seem to be able to tackle issues with a reasoned approach. The letter they put behind their name should have little impact on whether they get to put a new title in front of their name.

In nearby Rockdale County, we wonder if many voters just simply filled out a straight ticket, considering that many longtime, seemingly competent incumbents were booted out of seats that shouldn't be partisan in the first place.

Here in Newton County, we seem not to have had that issue, as in our opinion, the best men and women for the job won in most cases. We might have liked to see more qualified candidates in some cases, but we can only vote for those who take the courageous jump into the political scene.

Now that the election is over, we need to prepare ourselves as a county for the positive future that looks will be coming our way if we grab hold of it. We hope our leadership will come together, leave partisan politics at the polls and jointly come up with a plan that benefits all residents.