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You might have seen my June 18 column announcing a reduction in word lengths for letters to the editor.
I was glad to say that the number of our letter writers has increased during the past year. We continue to encourage our community residents to write their opinions and send them to us in letters to the editor. And some of our writers do research or find humor in issues well enough to submit them as guest columns to us.

On behalf of the editorial board, I want to thank you for your continued input on issues confronting our community, state, nation and the world. Your opinions are always important. Our readers and the editorial board use these opinions to form their own perspectives. In a sense, our Viewpoints page is a “think tank,” where our readers can weigh in on any subject or issue.

As of June 18 we had maximum lengths for letters to the editor and guest columns. Those lengths were 400 words and 750 words respectively. Also, during elections, we have set a maximum of 200 words for campaign letters.

With an increase in the number of missives we are receiving, we had to reduce our maximum-length numbers to publish all of the letters we receive in a timely manner. So our new numbers for maximum lengths will accommodate the space we need to publish your letters.

Beginning immediately, new maximum lengths will be 350 words for letters to the editor and 600 words for guest columns. Political-related letters will remain at a maximum of 200 words. And thank-you letters will remain at a maximum of 150 words. All letters received before June 18 will be published by old maximum lengths.

The importance of letters cannot be expressed enough. Letter writers, in their initial minority way, can effect social change. Therefore, letter writers are powerful – as is the written word – because they are real people, signing their names to their opinions – they are not anonymous. What other way to express an opinion is so freely published with your name on it?

Letter writers cause people to think. And if enough people agree with a letter’s stance, then that could lead to grass roots groups forming, and that could lead to legislation or changing laws or direction of government and business. There are many avenues of change that letters can effect.

Letter writers are part of the process to reach out for reason and knowledge when it is not so readily available.

As always, I stand ready to help any letter writer go through the process to get published. Phone me at the Advocate – 361-580-6313, or e-mail me at tdelaney@vicad.com.

Again, thank you for your opinions. You are practicing our First Amendment rights whenever you pen a letter to the editor. And we respect that.   Tim Delaney is the Advocate’s community conversation editor and assistant local editor.