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Sue's Views: What Would You Like to Talk About?

I have told you this before, but I carry a copy of the United States Constitution in my purse. When I'm questioned about it, I joke that I'm waiting to be the next contestant on "Let's Make a Deal" and hope that Monty Hall will offer $500 for anyone who has a nail clipper and a copy of the Constitution.

Truth is, the Constitution is a really important document and I strongly urge people to read it. Then read it again. Both of my children got their own copy when they entered 7th grade. Often, I will make them name their favorite constitutional amendment and tell me why. Once or twice, I have made their friends answer the same question. I really do think it's that important for people to read the Constitution. Oh, and I don't get asked to drive my kids and their friends around much anymore.

Which is my favorite amendment? Without a doubt, the 19th Amendment which states: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Short and sweet but it got the job done.

I often joke that I'm also a strong supporter of the 21st Amendment. Look it up, you'll understand.

So why am I on a rant about the Constitution? Well, next week, Oct. 2-8, is National Newspaper Week, and in my opinion, a community newspaper and the First Amendment are intricately tied together.

The First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

There are countless examples across our nation from papers of all sizes that continue to take seriously our First Amendment role to shed light on government. Newspapers are still doing the probing stories and pursuing legal remedies to make sure that the public's business is done in the open.

But in all honesty, most of the work done in our office is more routine and somewhat mundane. But that too, is part of our role in making our government of, by and for the people. Most citizens will never sit through a city council, county board or school board meeting. Yet newspaper reporters do and are able to give their readers the important details on proposed levies, municipal improvements and changes to local ordinances.

In our legal advertising, you're able to read the official minutes of these meetings. Trust me, the reporter's version is always more helpful.

We also tell you who is getting married, who had a baby, who died, who made the honor roll and what's for lunch at the public school.

We have an opinion page and publish letters to the editor on almost any topic.

We are the community newspaper.

A newspaper is more than paper and ink. It is a conversation with the community.

What would you like to talk about today?