With The Gazette’s sale to Adams Publishing Group last year after more than 135 years under Bliss family ownership, some people have wondered whether our editorial positions have changed.

For the most part, they haven’t.

To be clear, Adams does not dictate editorial positions. Our stances on issues are determined locally by the newspaper’s editorial board.

After a recent review of the principles that guide the Opinion Page, they remain mostly in place. The only change we’ve made to our list of principles is to drop our opposition to “the expansion of gambling in Wisconsin.” Gambling has become widely accepted, and with a new casino planned for the Beloit area, we’ve lost interest in defending this principle.

We continue to believe in the importance of the First Amendment in maintaining a free press and healthy democracy and still subscribe to the late Gazette Publisher H.H. Bliss’ “Publisher’s Creed,” stating a newspaper “must be the mouthpiece of the people.”

In this space, we advocate for certain policies and oppose others, but we don’t claim to have all the answers. We welcome readers’ feedback and strive to include opposing viewpoints on the Opinion Page. Here are our principles:

The Gazette supports economic development and policies that promote growth of small businesses and jobs. We oppose rules that unnecessarily impede business expansion.

The Gazette believes a strong public school system is important for attracting businesses and economic development. Good schools are vital to a good community, and quality schools require regular investments.

The Gazette favors protecting our environment and hunting and fishing rights. We endorse efforts to save and restore Wisconsin’s waterways, forests and other natural resources so future generations can enjoy hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits. The state must strike a balance—protecting natural resources without placing undue burdens on businesses and industry.

The Gazette takes a conservative stance on taxes. We reject most new taxes as licenses to spend money. We urge government officials to instead find new, innovative ways to trim expenses and find other sources of revenue.

The Gazette opposes unfunded mandates as contributing to inefficient and ineffective government. Mandates imposed without proper consideration of costs in relation to benefits hamper local governments and schools in their attempts to set and meet priorities.

The Gazette believes in strong families and in the values that build them, such as honesty, fairness and respect for yourself and others. Parents have a duty to teach their children about ethics and integrity. Employers should do all they can to support families.

The Gazette generally believes in a policy of live and let live when it comes to private lives. Government shouldn’t intrude on private lives when lifestyles don’t affect others.

The Gazette believes in clean, open, principled, efficient government that benefits from cooperation and compromise between political parties.

The Gazette takes seriously its role as a government watchdog. Monitoring government and exposing wrongdoing are roles we’ve taken seriously for more than 150 years. The Gazette is beholden to no one and strives to serve our communities in a fair and noble way.