• Thelma Grimes

Starting next week, we are changing our letters policy, giving readers more opportunity to express their concerns and viewpoints through more words. Instead of 250 words, which I think is just enough for our letter writers to scratch the surface, we are increasing the letter limit to 400 words.

While still short (we still have limited space), it will give you all more of an opportunity to express your concerns, debate and talk about the issues in our communities, counties, state and nation.

In recent weeks, as I have come full swing into the editor position, we have had some thoughtful emails sent my way expressing concerns about the letters we print.

I want to stress to all our letter writers and readers that I do not pick and choose viewpoints that only fit mine. I would rather print a wide variety of discussion in any particular topic because that is the best way to see what those in our community are thinking.

As long as the submitted letters follow our policies, we will print them. My opinion, when it comes to your letters, does not matter. I respect that you all have opinions and have just as much right as I do to get space in our community publications.

In recent weeks, I have also received a few emails wondering if I am liberal, asking if I take a stance against the right.

As I told one area reader, I have no problem sharing my political views or where I stand. However, I stressed to him it may not be as exciting as some think.

As editor, I look to you all to be honest and up front with me as we tell your stories. That means, I am fine with being honest and up front with you all.

I am currently an unaffiliated voter. Many, many years ago I changed my official political affiliation for a variety of reasons. In Arizona, when I started covering more politics, I was not comfortable being on one side or the other. I worked hard to stay in the middle.

Prior to becoming unaffiliated, I registered as a Republican when I was 18. I was raised in a small, conservative town. And, while I changed my affiliation and have changed some of my political views over the years, I am proud of where I grew up and the morals and ethics I was raised with.

However, I will say my super conservative father and myself have engaged in some lively debate over areas in which I have changed my stance over the years. I still value his opinion, but just like those days as a teenager, I do not always agree with where he is coming from when it comes to the direction of this country.

On the same token, I often have lively debate and completely disagree regularly with my more liberal father-in-law.

As a side note, we keep politics off the table when the grandfathers are together for family gatherings.