Los Santos, San Andreas – At Sunday’s public debate, the three campaigns of Governor and Lt. Governor candidates took the stage to discuss a multitude of topics important to the voters of San Andreas. One of the first questions posed to all in attendance sought their perspective on the most important problems we have today: What is the biggest problem facing the state and how do you plan to solve it?
Andre Johnson & Jennifer Sallison
The campaign consisting of two law enforcement officers were given the first opportunity to respond. Candidate Johnson was quick to point out that this kind of question will have a different answer for each citizen throughout the state, so it’s important to be able to work with everyone and understand their perspectives. Referencing ongoing wars on the south side of Los Santos, he suggested their biggest problem concerns the accountability of law enforcement whom they engage with on a daily basis.
Turning to business owners throughout the state, he predicted their concerns stem from their interactions with the Department of Commerce & Labor, or lack thereof. With that said, however, he also pointed out that many individuals have a positive experience with that agency or are working closely with them to propose improvements to our business economy. Andre Johnson’s main point remained that there isn’t simply one biggest problem, but that you have to tailor your work to the diverse needs of San Andreas citizens.
One constant need, he pointed out, is the simple desire to find help when it’s needed. Candidate Johnson pointed to rehabilitation as a core tenet of their campaign platform, giving the example of Oliver Langmore’s fantastic Addicts Anonymous program. He wants to see more programs run through the Department of Human Services as well as private organizations to bring citizens the assistance they need.
Cole Gordon & Oliver Hall
Gubernatorial candidate Cole Gordon agreed with Mr. Johnson’s point on diversity, moving on to suggest that one of the biggest problems they see revolves around bail reform and the overall judicial system. They also touched on equitable healthcare, clear communications from the Department of Commerce & Labor, and transparency for law enforcement agencies.
There are so many issues that need to be addressed, and the government is not addressing them.Oliver Hall
Stepping back toward the core question, however, Mr. Gordon stated that a common theme for their campaign has been the alleged inaction of the current government. By contrast, they promise to be an active and present government if elected. His running mate, Oliver Hall, double down on this assertion, stating that the government needs to work for the citizens.
Vlad Tod & Karmen McKenzie
Bringing the debate participants in full agreement, Candidate Tod pointed out that every citizen’s circumstances vary, whether they’re from the south side or Paleto. As government officials, it’s their job to observe all of the problems and prioritize them based on impact and need to address the most critical issues swiftly and effectively. He stated that every government action should serve as a stepping stone to enable future decisions, building on a continuous platform of addressing the state’s needs.
In referencing specific problems, Mr. Tod spoke to rampant violence throughout the state, not just in the south side as other candidates had mentioned, but also terroristic attacks that have gone unaddressed. To prepare himself to address this issue as Governor, he has spoken directly with law enforcement agencies to understand how they coordinate with the Major Crimes Division (MCD), as well as reaching out to Mount Zonah officials over the frequent violence around and within their premises. Public safety is paramount, he asserts, because the government does not matter if the public is not free to enjoy the benefits of the government’s work.
Cole Gordon began by agreeing with Candidate Tod’s final point, but he asked to focus in on the impact of their campaign’s discussions with police agencies. In particular, the Tod-McKenzie campaign seeks to establish an intelligence agency, which Mr. Gordon alleged is essentially the same as the existing Major Crimes Division. By contrast, he felt his campaign would place its trust in MCD in its current form, providing them with the resources they need to be successful. Vlad Tod responded by mentioning that he spoke directly with Captain Sally Jenkins of the Major Crimes Division, LSPD Assistant Chief George Kuznetsov, and other members of these agencies to influence his campaign’s proposal for an intelligence agency.
Candidate Gordon went on to touch on terrorism as well, pointing out that their platform is focused on clarifying the penal code to better define offenses so they can be prosecuted appropriately for their actions. His running mate, Oliver Hall, jumped in to declare their full faith and support for law enforcement in apprehending individuals committing terroristic crimes. Mr. Tod, while in agreement that the penal code needs improvement, asserted that it was more important to focus on crime prevention than prosecuting crimes after the damage has already been done. With blackouts, phone service outages, and now mass murder across the city, he doesn’t feel their prosecutorial approach will make the difference San Andreas needs.
Mr. Gordon, agreeing that law enforcement agencies are spread thin, countered that creating a new agency would further dilute their ability to be on the streets combatting criminal activity. Moving a step further back, he asserted that crime prevention starts with addressing the underlying causes of this activity, through the establishment of community centers, mental health programs, and other social services.
In response to Candidate Gordon’s assertion that their intelligence agency would pull trained officers off the streets to stick them behind a desk, Lt. Governor McKenzie countered that this was an assumption not based in the facts of how they would implement their proposal. She stated that the agency will be looking to hire additional workers from outside the current force to supplement any personnel shifts, and that it will operate as an auxiliary organization rather than a detriment to current efforts.
Oliver Hall questioned how they will plan to staff this new agency given current personnel shortages, and Mr. Tod answered by stating the intelligence group would be small to start, focused on augmenting the ongoing efforts of law enforcement. Rather than seeking immediate effectiveness at full strength, he feels this proposal will plant the seeds of long-term impact, even if it takes longer than the next Governor’s term to see it to fruition. Mr. Hall asserted that addressing current staffing issues is more important than proposing a “pie-in-the-sky department”, preferring to strengthen existing departments. However, Karmen McKenzie pointed out that these efforts don’t have to be mutually exclusive; we can focus on current personnel shortages while also setting the course for the future.
Having stayed curiously silent throughout the rebuttals up to this point, Andre Johnson attempted to speak up and voice his perspective as a law enforcement officer. However, Cole Gordon shouted over him repeatedly in an attempt to shut him up before continuing his back-and-forth with the Tod-McKenzie campaign. The two campaigns continued to argue about the difference between immediate action and long-term planning, attacking each other over their own lack of experience with law enforcement while refusing to hear from the third campaign which consisted solely of direct experience that could have been valuable to that discussion.
There seemed to be no end in sight when the moderators finally announced that time had expired on that question. How will this exchange influence the voters of San Andreas? Head to the polls now and make your opinion known! Polls are open until Monday night @ 8 pm EST, so don’t miss your chance to vote.
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