Don't go to the polls unprepared.
Even though we've been under a siege of attack ads between our US Senate candidates, there are many, many important elections on this November's ballot.
These picks are based on my personal vetting of candidates. In many cases, I'm making a pick based on a relatively small amount of information, but I've worked diligently to gather data where I can and admit when I don't have it. Generally speaking, I am a pro-education, fiscally conservative, socially progressive-minded person.
You must vote in your assigned polling location (find yours here). And apparently you cannot use a cell phone at the poll, so it might be best to write down your picks on a piece of paper prior to voting.
Don't have time to read all of this? A full summary of my picks is at the bottom of this post for your convenience.
Facebook told me that Jan had died. Then I found out the Internet was wrong.
THIS STORY BEGINS SIXTEEN YEARS AGO, the fall of 1998, when I was a high school senior visiting my college sophomore girlfriend at Western Carolina. We were kids, so we were drawn like moths to the flame by the on-campus Chick-fil-a, where fried chicken sandwiches wrapped in foil bags sat under heat lamps, waiting for us to collect them and pay for them with a mysterious and seemingly inexhaustible supply of declining balance points.
We'd gathered our meals and headed for check-out, and that's the first time I met Jan O'Brien, the infamous register attendant in the University Center food court. She was an older lady, short but strong stature, white, curly hair, and a vibrant smile, which she flashed warmly to me. "Hello, sweetheart!" she said.
"Hi, Jan!" Kelly said back to her.
I grinned. "What, no 'sweetheart' for me?"
She laughed, and then she called me sweetheart. We chatted, and then we checked out, and we ate, and the next year I came back to Western Carolina as a freshman. Jan was still there, and she called me sweetheart. She called me that for the next four years.
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