Sunday, May 29, 2016

Workplace Safety Needs to be a Team Effort

Created by Kimberly Kline
Small Business and Safety should go 
hand in hand.
As an employer, it is crucial and beneficial that you ensure a safe and productive work environment for all your employees. And that means that you and your employees need to operate under the mindset that All Accidents and Workplace Safety Issues are Preventable.

Placing value in Workplace Safety is a culture that is communicated from leadership through the ranks. All levels of the company need to have the same goal and understand that goal.  

Your dedication to safety begins by using background checks before you hire. It continues with your resolve to maintain a safe workplace through periodically re-screening your employees, employing workplace drug testing, and even addressing potential health issues like the COVID pandemic.

Click here to discover “Why You Need to Re-Screen Your Employees” and the importance of Workplace Drug Testing.

But one of the most successful tactics you can use to create a work environment that is as safe as possible is to make it a Team Effort. Getting all your employees onboard and creating the culture that safety is important makes sense.

And one of the most vital areas for you and your team to focus on should be the importance of Continued Behavior Observation.

Continued Behavior Observation is a method of identifying and reporting on any behavior that can create a problem in the workplace. When used consistently, you can increase productivity and reduce on the job accidents and injuries. 

Your employees know each other better than anyone else. Creating an environment where each employee can easily observe and safely report when they see another employee exhibiting unusual or unsafe behavior is paramount. Employees also have to feel safe from repercussions or retaliation in doing so.

The most important benefit of Continued Behavior Observation is the ability to recognize and report any dangerous, erratic, or unusual employee behavior.

CBO is simply another tool in your workplace safety arsenal. And it can be applied to every aspect of your day to day operations.

It can improve the behavior of everyone from management and supervisors, to those responsible for your hands-on or on location based job duties. CBO not only makes your overall workplace safer, it will also increase your employees’ performance and competency. It is a great way to achieve your organizational goals and ensure your employees continually improve at their jobs.

To make Continued Behavior Observation work in your company, it is important that you first define exactly what target behavior you expect from your employees and understand the diversity of culture and individualism within your workforce.

The best way to do this is to first create a mission for your company. What do you want to achieve? What values do you want to emphasize? Knowing your core values and goals helps you identify exactly where you want your company to go.

You can find out more about identifying and using your own core values to find success in; “I Know Why I Do What I Do”!

Next, you should take a look at the job descriptions for each position in your company. Each job descriptions should clearly define the goals and objectives each employee hired in that position should achieve. From there you can determine what behavior will help each employee to get there.

These steps will help you discover what on-the-job behavior is necessary to keep your workplace safe and productive.

What Is Continued Behavior Observation & How Can You Use It in Your Small Business?

At its most basic, CBO uses your own employees, from management to entry level, to observe and correct unsafe workplace behavior and report to management any indication of aberrant behavior.

This can be informal, as in daily observation and reporting, or as part of a scheduled one-on-one period of observation.

In the more formal method, a designated employee will use simple techniques to observe another employee in their day to day job duties. The observer will then give feedback on ways to improve and eliminate any unsafe behavior.

In the informal example, an employee may witness another employee acting unsafely or even erratically. They can then simply make that employee aware of their observed behavior or, if necessary, report it to their supervisor or manager. It is then up to the supervisor to act on this information to keep the workplace safe.

The goal is to use the observer’s feedback to identify the unsafe behavior and make any changes necessary. At times the employee may be unaware they acting unsafely, and the feedback will help them recognize the problem. It can also encourage other employees to make an effort to continue working safely.  

Some companies only use the informal method, possibly followed by the one-on-one observation if needed. Others rely on periodic formal observations. Either way, the result is to identify and decrease any instances of at risk behavior and increase safety across your workplace.

Your Company’s Safety Culture Needs to be a Team Effort!  “Tweet This”

Making sure your company is dedicated to a continuing Safety Culture is good for your employees, customers, and your company bottom line.

Having a sound Company Safety Culture means that workplace safety is valued.  
Each employee must feel a responsibility to keep their co-workers safe. In order to make this work, all employees must have the tools they need to not only observe and report unsafe behavior, but to feel supported and empowered by your company’s safety culture to act if they observe that safety being threatened. 

Each employee must be knowledgeable and trained in the best way to observe and report any unsafe behavior.

Created by Kimberly Kline

5 Best Practices for Reporting Unsafe Behavior
  • Be sure to report facts, not opinions
  • Be careful to avoid bias
  • Be as detailed as possible
  • Be sure to include only what you witness
  • Be sure to explain the behavior in chronological order (this, then that)
Following these 5 steps will ensure any observations stick with the facts and are detailed enough to correct your employee’s unsafe behavior.

The key is to embrace Continued Behavior Observation as a vital tool in emphasizing safe and productive workplace practices, while recognizing and discouraging any unsafe ones. Everyone from management to employees must be on the same page and recognize the importance of having a safe workplace.

Make these Goals a Priority in Your Behavioral Observation Program:

Make Safety an Ongoing Conversation
Everyone needs to be vigilant and dedicated to a safe workplace.  
There must be open discussion between management, peers, and subordinates, about achieving safety goals and correcting unsafe behaviors. It must be as much about giving immediate praise for practicing safe behaviors as observing and offering solutions to correcting unsafe actions. 

Make Safety Everyone’s Business
Don’t make it an “us versus them” mentality.  It is not “ratting” on fellow employees, or having an agenda against anyone. It has to be about keeping everyone safe and making your company a great place to work. You and your employees must be in it together.

Reward Everyone for a Safe Workplace
While individual praise for safe behavior is essential, rewarding your entire company as a whole for a safe work environment is key. This fosters the idea that safety is a culture and driving force for your entire company. It also establishes a sense of pride in creating and maintaining a safe workplace. How you reward them is up to you, but making it inclusive of all should be your ultimate goal.

Workplace Safety needs to be a part of your company culture and it is vital that you get everyone involved. Not only will you have a safer and more productive company, but you will all be part of its success ~ as a TEAM!

Want to learn more about how You can have a Safe and Productive Workplace? Contact Us Now!  API can guide you in the best practices to achieve your goal.

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Has Your Driver Passed a Background Check? What the Controversy Surrounding Uber & Lyft Means to You!

Created by Kimberly Kline

The days of having to rely on traditional public transportation have passed.  Now, by simply using an easily installed app on your smartphone, you are able to not only order a ride, but you can track exactly when it will reach you, and pay for the services rendered.

What could be more simple or convenient?

And, according to the numbers cited by the two top ride-sharing companies, Uber and Lyft, business is good.  Uber boasts a presence in 45 countries around the world.  While Lyft stays state side, both show growing revenues and riders.  *Source1

With this success, other companies are sure to continue to get in the game.

However, it has not all been smooth sailing.  Currently, both Uber and Lyft are under fire.

A growing number of cities are questioning the safety of both services ~ specifically the background checks done on their drivers.  Concerns over the quality and completeness of the screening has caused some cities to regulate how ride-sharing companies do business there.  Some cities have even gone as far as banning them completely.

These cities base their concern over the different regulations governing the screening of ride sharing and traditional drivers, such as taxi drivers.  While taxi drivers are subject to print based background checks, ride-sharing companies have made their own choices on how to screen their drivers.

And because these ride-sharing companies are relatively new, and government moves often painstakingly slow, there is no precedent for dealing with this issue.

In some cases, Uber and Lyft have each either threatened to leave or have already left cities where officials choose to pass laws dictating how they run their background checks. 

On top of this, ride-sharing companies have also had to deal with problems concerning drivers accused of criminal behavior.  These have included instances of alleged sexual assault, molestation, and rape.

Certainly not the public image any company wants.

Despite this, companies like Uber and Lyft are doing many things right.  The mere fact that they are taking the time to screen their drivers shows at least some level of commitment to customer and driver safety.

Each company has also put other procedures in place to keep their customers safe.

Created by Kimberly Kline

Uber, for instance, makes sure that when you use their app, you are given thorough identifying information on the driver sent.  That includes their name, a photo, their rating, and the license plate number of their vehicle.  This way you are fully informed about who is picking you up. 

They also promise a 24 hour support team who will handle any urgent problems or concerns about your ride.

Both Uber and Lyft also employ active rating services that allow riders and drivers to rate each other.  These ratings are part of both the driver’s and rider’s profile.  Anyone, driver or rider, having too many negative comments is no longer part of the service.

But the most important safety measure for any ride-sharing service comes back to their driver screening policies.  This is certainly the subject most hotly contested.

Uber’s background checks vary according to locale.  But no matter where the driver is operating, all undergo a background check.

Uber cites that most of their screenings go back at least 7 years. Drivers are required to provide complete identifying information ~ name, date of birth, social security number, and driver’s license number.  They also must show a valid vehicle registration, proof of insurance, and inspection.

The driver’s criminal history check obtains information from applicable national, state, and local sources.  Any records found are then verified directly through the courts.  

Lyft employs many of the same procedures, including the 7 year timeframe and criminal databases used.  They also cite a Zero Tolerance Drug Use Policy and provide rider insurance.

Despite these screening practices, ride-sharing services continue to be criticized.

At the heart of this controversy is the belief that fingerprint based background checks, as required for registered taxi drivers, should also be required of ride-sharing company drivers. And many law makers agree. 

The reality, however, is that no matter what type of background check you use, there can be issues

When running a fingerprint based check, most prints are obtained through digital scanning and then submitted to the FBI and state agencies to find any possible matches.

But fingerprint based background checks are not infallible. There are problems within the federal, state, and even the systems themselves.

Fingerprint System Limitations
Not all arrests made include the taking of fingerprints.  Therefore, any records where prints were not taken will not show up in that type of background check report. 

FBI Record Limitations 
The FBI database is not a complete and accurate source.  Not all cases contained in the database have a disposition listed.  This results in the possibility that some negative records found within the FBI system are based on arrests, not convictions.  In addition, some criminal records are held at state level only and will not be found during an FBI search. 

State Record Limitations
State Records are not always up to date.  Frequently case information is not passed on in a timely manner from the lower courts.  This results in inaccurate and incomplete records.

Created by Kimberly Kline

You can find out more about the problems of relying solely on state criminal records in; “Be Smart ~ Why You Need to Do More than Just a State Criminal Check”!

And discover why basing a hiring decision on arrests and not convictions is unfair and unreliable in; “Why Checking an Applicant’s Criminal Past Should be about Convictions, Not Arrests!”.

No matter what kind of background check ultimately used, companies, both ride-sharing and traditional taxi and car services, need to recognize that their riders’ safety must be at the top of their list.

Rider Safety Must Top the List for Taxis and Ride-Sharing Companies “Tweet This”

These companies also need to recognize that riders have a right to be concerned.

Riders deserve to feel safe.  Companies need to dedicate themselves to alleviating their customers fears and concerns.

A great place to start is by regulating their own drivers and responding quickly to any customer concerns.

But, most importantly, they should commit to periodically re-screening their drivers.  Ongoing background checks keep a company informed of any new or previously undecided criminal records involving their drivers.

Re-screening is used in other transportation industries, trucking and moving services for example, and would be a valuable tool for ride-sharing companies also. 

“Conducting periodic criminal checks on your existing employees is just as important as the initial background check in protecting the safety of your other employees, your customers, and your company.”.

Excerpt from my article; “Why You Need to Re-screen Your Employees!”.

As consumers, it is also important that we take responsibility and be vigilant about our own safety.  Doing things like informing friends or family you are using a ride-sharing service. Messaging them with the driver’s name, where you are heading, and when you get there.  You can even take a picture of the license plate and send it along with your message.

Anything we can do to increase our own safety makes sense.

Lessons Learned

Every company, including those like Uber and Lyft, need to be aware that their image is everything.  Going the extra mile to ensure that their customers are safe should be part of that image.

Making re-screening a vital part of their safety measures simply makes sense.

Doing what they can now to show their commitment to go above what is required is good for their company.  

Their ongoing success depends on it!

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Source1: How Uber and Lyft Stack Up in the United States

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Marijuana, Employers, and Drug Testing ~ What You Need to Know Part 2

Created by Kimberly Kline

The legality of marijuana use is changing in this country.  Many states are passing laws that allow the use of medical marijuana or, in some cases, recreational marijuana.

Even the stigma surrounding marijuana use is lessening. Consequently, the laws prohibiting it are becoming more lax.

Now Employers are faced with having to ask themselves ~

What impact will these marijuana laws have on our employee screening?

Will, or should, it change the way we look at minor drug offenses?

Understandably, employers are confused and concerned. 

Being proactive and taking a look at what you are doing concerning the marijuana laws in your state now, and in the future, makes good business sense.

This two part series explains how you can protect your small business when it comes to these new or changing marijuana laws. In Part 1, I dealt with the effect on your work environment and drug testing policies.  Check it out here!

In Part 2, I will share how you should consider these laws when it comes to your hiring and background check decisions.

In 2015, Employee Screen IQ* polled U.S. employers on this issue. They were asked whether their background check and drug-screening programs would change due to new state marijuana laws.

The results:

Concerning their Employee Drug Testing Program:
Continue Drug Testing Program 54%
Don't Have a Drug testing Program 20%
Don't Know 18%

Concerning Drug Tests / Background Checks Positive for Marijuana
Ignore Positive Results for Marijuana 12%
Overlook Past Convictions for Minor Marijuana Offenses 10%
Discontinue Drug Testing Program 2%

The result that stood out to me is that some employers were ready to alter the way they considered marijuana in their testing and background check results.  While that number is currently small (12%), I could see it increase as more and more states pass their own marijuana laws.

There were even employers choosing to overlook past minor marijuana convictions completely when making their hiring decisions.  

What is even more telling, however, is that 18% of those polled were unsure what impact changing marijuana laws would have on their testing and screening.

I am not surprised.

As an employer, you are caught in a tough position.  You want to make sure your workplace is as safe and productive as possible. That means hiring the right candidates for the job.

And you understand that background checks go a long way towards accomplishing that goal.

The majority of these checks screen for past criminal records.  Any drug convictions, including those for marijuana possession and use, would be part of that report.

But what if marijuana use becomes legalized in your state?
Should, or would, that change the weight you put on any cases found concerning marijuana? 

The Time is Now to Consider Marijuana in Your Background Check Policies!  “Tweet This”

Don’t stay in the dark.  Now is the time to specifically address marijuana use in your background check and hiring policies.

What Should You Do?

Taking these two steps now will help you keep your hiring and background check policies current.

Decide How to Deal with a Potential Increase in Marijuana Use
As laws against marijuana use lessen, the number of potential and current employees who have or will use marijuana may increase.  
Depending on your state, this use could cover medical and/or recreational marijuana.

It is important to remember that no matter the laws in your state, as an employer you have the right to restrict drug use on the job.  You also can expect your employees to not be impaired in the workplace. (Find out more about your rights in Part 1 of this series).

 Decide Your Stance on Past Marijuana Convictions
Will the legalization of marijuana in your state alter your stance on past convictions?  Will it depend upon the severity of the crime or how long ago the crime occurred?

It is best if you decide now what, if any, offenses for using or possessing marijuana you are willing to ignore.

You should remember that there are already guidelines in place that dictate how employers can use a past criminal record when it comes to hiring.

EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) guidelines dictate that you must consider the nature of the offense, the time that has passed since the offense, the applicant’s age at the time of the offense, and the kind of job you are hiring for.

Created by Kimberly Kline

While these guidelines don’t apply to every type of company and job, many small businesses will fall under their jurisdiction.

In order to determine what convictions would have an impact on the ability to do the job you want to fill, you need to understand the job’s duties and responsibilities.  This starts with fitting the background check to the job.

Read “One Size Does not Fit All ~ Why You need to Fit the Background Check to the Job” to find out more!

As an employer, it is also important you are aware of your applicant’s rights if a criminal record is found during the background check.  There are specific steps you must follow as dictated by the EEOC.    

These steps involve informing your applicant, in writing, that they may not be hired due to their criminal history; giving them a chance to explain or mitigate your findings; and assessing the additional information provided before making a final hiring decision.

This is where an Individualized Assessment comes into play.  

Find out What it is and How to Use It in your Hiring practices in; “Individual Assessments, What They Are and Why You Need to Use Them in Your Small Business”! 

Deciding now how you will deal with marijuana use and past marijuana convictions in your hiring decisions is simply Good Business. 

Updating your policies before you are faced with making a new hire is best for You, Your Employees, and Your Company!

Need Help with Your Hiring and Background Check Policies? 
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Source1* Results of EmployeeScreenIQ’s 6th Annual Survey of U.S.-Based Employers

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Marijuana, Employers, and Drug Testing ~ What You Need to Know

Created by Kimberly Kline

Many states have already passed, or are in the process of passing, laws governing the use of marijuana.  Some states are now allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  Others have passed legislation permitting it recreationally.

There are still other states who have not yet dealt with the issue at all.

No matter what the case in your state, as an employer, it is wise for you to be proactive and develop a marijuana use policy for your company.

In Part 1 of this series, I will discuss changing state marijuana laws and the possible affect on your work environment and drug testing policies.  In Part 2, you will learn how to deal with these laws before you hire, by taking a look at your employment background check programs. 

Employers are understandably concerned.  You question how the existing or potential new marijuana laws will impact your company.  And, most importantly, you worry how you can still maintain and expect a drug-free work environment.

It can definitely seem confusing.  But it is not impossible.

Confused by Marijuana Laws? You can Still Have a Drug Free Workplace!  “Tweet This”

You can Still have a Safe and Drug-Free Workplace, despite new and emerging marijuana laws!

The key is to stay up to date on what is happening in your state concerning the use of marijuana both now and in the future.  And if you employ people in multiple states, then it is also imperative that you are on top of the laws in those states too.

These laws can govern both the use of marijuana for recreational use and the use of medically prescribed marijuana.


As an employer, it is your job to have a safe and productive workplace, both for your company’s success and for the welfare of your employees and customers.

For that reason it is important that your hiring and employee conduct policies address the issue of marijuana use.

It is first important to understand the possible drug tests used by employers and how marijuana presents in those tests.

4 Commonly Used Workplace Drug Tests:

Urine Test (Most Common)
Marijuana can be detected even days after use.  
Limitation: It does not show whether the subject was under the influence at the time of testing.

Hair Follicle Test
Can detect marijuana for weeks or even months after use. 
Limitation:  Does not detect marijuana use until days later. 

Blood Test
Best indication of whether the subject is currently under the influence.
Limitation:  Test is expensive and considered invasive.  Must be done immediately upon suspicion of use due to rapid decrease of levels over time.

Saliva Test
Able to show current use, even if only used for a day or two 
Limitation:  Unknown, Not Yet Widely Used

Some employers use random, unannounced, drug testing in their workplace.  Others only drug test for cause (observation of unsafe behavior).  Random drug testing poses the most problems when it comes to marijuana use.

Unlike some other drugs, alcohol for example, marijuana can stay in your system for 30 days or more.  This is dependent upon how recently a person smoked, how often they smoke, and their own metabolism.

Because of this, an employee could fail a drug test despite not having used marijuana for days or even weeks. 

Proponents of marijuana argue that use out of the workplace is not a threat to company safety or ability to perform on the job. However, opponents believe that the affects are there even days after use.  This is especially apparent in frequent and chronic users (something that is a problem with any drug, even alcohol).

For this reason, no matter the marijuana laws in your state, it makes sense for you to address the use of marijuana in your workplace. And if you currently drug test, then it is not wise to throw in the towel and abandon your program completely.

Sound drug policies are shown to increase workplace safety and productivity.  They also reduce absenteeism and can even deter drug use.

It is important to recognize that the goal of any good drug policy is truly not to dictate what an employee does on their own time, but to make sure that their actions do not create a problem in the workplace.

“Employee drug abuse can have serious implications on your entire company.  When an employee is on drugs, they are often incapable of making sound decisions, on top of often being physically impaired.  This can result in more on-the-job accidents and injuries, both for the employee using drugs and those around them.  This can cost you both in harming your workforce and being dangerous to you financially.”

(excerpt from my article, “Dangers to Your Small Business ~ Violence and Drugs in the Workplace”) 

Therefore, it is crucial that you understand your Rights as an Employer when it comes to drug testing and the consequences your employee could face for discovered marijuana use. 

Of the biggest concern is your ability, as an employer, to discipline, or even terminate, an employee who tests positive for marijuana.

In most states, employers are completely within their rights to prohibit marijuana use or impairment due to marijuana in the workplace. 

Created by Kimberly Kline

But what about marijuana use outside the workplace?

Many employers believe that laws addressing the use of medical marijuana are the most problematic.  They question what that means for their “zero tolerance” policy, especially if an effected employee fails a drug test.

Some states, Arizona for example, currently prohibit employers from firing an employee who tests positive for marijuana, if they have a medical marijuana card.  While other states permit it.

But while numerous states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, most have not included protections for those users from being disciplined through company drug policies.  Even the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn’t protect employee use of medical marijuana.

This is especially true in jobs that are considered “safety sensitive” ~ transportation workers such as truckers, school bus drivers, and pilots, along with heavy equipment operators and government contractors.

However, the ADA and state regulations do require that employers provide “reasonable accommodation” for employees with a disability.  In some cases, that disability may include the off-work use of medical marijuana to manage symptoms or pain.

Because of this, more states may enact future laws to protect employees who use medically prescribed marijuana on their own time. Companies should be ready for potential revisions to their “zero tolerance” and drug testing policies as a result.

What is important to remember is the marijuana is still illegal under federal law.  This is especially important for any company that receives federal funding or is subject to federal regulations that make marijuana a prohibited substance.

When it comes to their drug policies, many employers choose to place their emphasis on federal law.  This means keeping their drug testing and workplace policies in place.

Once again, your best offense is a good defense.  This means creating an effective workplace drug policy that includes a drug-testing program.

Making sure your employees are not impaired at work, and a jeopardy to you company, should be your ultimate goal. And keeping up with any new and changing marijuana laws is key.

Be sure to check out Part 2 in this series where I discuss marijuana laws and what it means to your employee background check program!

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

These Elections are Driving Me Crazy!

I don’t usually weigh in on political issues (unless they deal with small business), but these elections are driving me crazy!
From the beginning, this race has been a circus. Voters are polarized over the candidates, especially the remaining front runners. The candidates’ positions on the issues, if you can even figure out what they really are, are often clouded by their unrealistic and inflammatory statements.  

And don’t get me started on the debates!  They have been an embarrassment. Candidates have shown themselves to be uncivil, unfocused, and uninformed. It has been both sad and laughable.

These debates have been more about “show” than substance. Media attention has been rampant, but not about what is important. Instead the focus has been on whatever outrageous statements the candidates make about our country and each other.

Many of these candidates, including the ones no longer in the race, have made themselves look ridiculous. I have seen levels of immaturity during these debates that I don’t even see in children.

Where are the thoughtful stands on the issues?  Where are their objectives and goals 
for while in office?  

We deserve the debates to be so much more than calling out the other candidates. We need to know what each candidate wants to do and how they will do it.

And this level of mean spiritedness and immaturity can also be seen in some of the candidates’ supporters! There have been instances of name calling, inappropriate social media posts, and even physical violence.

The truth is that no matter who wins, many of us will end up being unhappy, incredulous, or even outraged.

Frankly, I am dismayed by the way things are going. We are electing the president of our country!
Do these candidates have the qualifications to hold the highest office in the country?

Are These Candidates Really the Best We have to Offer? “Tweet This”
Can this really be the best our country has to offer?

And the responsibility for this lies with both parties. Neither operates with cooperation and integrity in mind. Let alone focused on what is truly best for our country.

Each party’s knee jerk response is to unilaterally shut down anything the other party proposes. It is a “you do this, then we will do that” mentality.

Neither wants the other to get credit for a good idea. They are playing a game that no one can win. And the ones really being hurt are the American people.  

We need and deserve a president who can lead. 
One that is not polarizing. One who can promote an atmosphere of cooperation and accomplishment.

What happened to the idea that our president and representatives are servants of the people?

The original goal of electing officials was that they would represent our wishes and work to make our lives better as a whole.

Can even one of these candidates fit the bill?

Instead, we have politicians who lie to us. They make decisions based on special interests or even personal greed. They will do or say anything to get elected. Then, when they win, will completely focus on their own agenda.  

No wonder many of us are sick of politicians.
Even though I believe there are those who enter political life with good intentions, even they are, in time, tainted by their office. They become career politicians instead of real catalysts for change. They become self-focused instead of people focused.

So, what are we to do when it comes time to vote for our next president?

For me, it will most likely come down to this….I will simply have to dig deep and vote my conscience!

I will make my choice based on the big issues that are truly important to me ~ our economy, people’s rights, health care, and education. 

I will vote for the candidate I believe will do the least harm. Someone who will not ruin this country irreparably in their four years in office.  

But is this the way it should be?
It is truly a sad commentary that in a country full of thoughtful, mindful, and giving people, these are the ones we must choose among to lead us.

But no matter what, I will still vote. My motto is, and has always been, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain!

Every vote matters. Those that give up and simply stop voting are doing themselves and this country a disservice.  Everyone’s voice should be heard.

But, more than anything, 
We need to become INFORMED voters! 
We need to do some research. Look at where the candidates stand on the issues, especially ones that are important to you. Find out their political beliefs or the way they have voted on or supported issues in the past. 
In other words, put in the work!
This is not always easy. When a political race is not focused on the issues but instead on the bad behavior and unprofessionalism of the candidates, it can be hard to wade through the mess. 

But we all have to try to look underneath the gaudiness of the circus, and discover the truth.

Our votes speak for us! Remember, WE are the People!

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