If you want good decisions to be made by government bodies, then you need good people to be willing to run.

Sadly, due to extreme divisiveness, the Burlington man who was going to run against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, for the 63rd District seat decided to drop out of the race.

Robert Prailes, a longtime Burlington resident who was going to run as a Democrat, said he dropped out because his family had become “the target of some really ugly personal attacks.”

He said: “I quickly realized that I am not the type of person who thrives in this type of situation, and that I had not adequately prepared my family for the consequences that would arise from my candidacy … I wasn’t going to be able to be myself on the campaign trail knowing that my family’s health and happiness could be jeopardized.”

Families give up a lot of time when someone decides to run for office. It’s a big commitment. But they should never have to give up their safety. That is not right.

The attacks are coming from both sides.

Vos received dog feces in the mail on Thursday, and that is not even the most concerning thing he’s received in the mail. In the days surrounding last month’s statewide election, Vos said he received five death threats after he was instrumental in preventing in-person voting from being postponed.

“We reported that to the police and we had squad cars outside my house. But the fact that someone in the state Legislature has to have police protection because people are threatening your life just goes to show that our country is losing it,” he told The Journal Times on Friday. “These are important issues, but they’re not worth the anger and the vitriol that people have.”

Based on Prailes’ experience and community involvement in Burlington, it would have been a good race between him and Vos. Having the two run against each other would have been a good chance to debate the issues that matter and talk about the best solutions for Wisconsin and for Racine County. Unfortunately those civil debates will not happen now that Prailes has dropped out of the race.

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic mean that a lot of tough decisions will have to be made at the state level.

The disagreements will continue, but there are better ways to express opinions than sending threats or attacking someone’s family.

It shouldn’t come to that. Not now, not ever.

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