Who you vote for will make an enormous difference in 2012. The stakes are high. The consequences are significant.I have listened to scores of national and statewide candidates for many different offices. I have read campaign fliers, white papers, position papers and books. I have listened to presentations all over Northern Nevada, on television, on radio and in person. Some very well done. Others not so much.This is a critically important election for reasons I have noted — different philosophies about the role of our democratic republic and its governance; different concepts about taxes and entitlements; and very different views of civil discourse and compromise. All registered voters need to exercise their right to vote for the candidates of their choice. Making a wise choice will be difficult.I would like to mention those candidates I like and the reasons I support them, or in some cases, don’t. At the same time it’s important you vote for your candidates. I support President Obama and Vice President Biden. They represent the very best of our elected policymakers — intelligent, hardworking, dedicated to our country and its diversity, committed to improving our economy, our education, our middle-class values and our safety. They made considerable progress during their first term. They are honest and in the best position to take our country forward for the next four years. Additionally, they have learned from their first-term mistakes and are the best bet for taking us into a future that is enlightened and preserves the values of this great country.Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan are simply unimpressive. Romney has changed his positions numerous times, seems to adjust his positions at will to address his ultra-conservative base, and has a very bad track record for telling the truth. He strikes me as a used car salesman. I’m certain he’s a nice man, but I wouldn’t want to buy a car from him. Ryan is not much better. Paul Ryan is absolutely determined to get rid of Social Security and Medicare. He has a distorted, perverse Ayn Rand view of the world which would allow him to sell out his countrymen in a minute to support his “supermen of capitalism” beliefs. If we put these men in office we set our country on a path to economic decline — a tragedy from which it would be difficult to recover. At the state level I support Shelley Berkley and Sam Koepnick. Ms. Berkley is a long-time representative, has done an outstanding job for Nevadans for many years. She holds the promise for helping the Senate meet our future economic needs. Mr. Koepnick is a newcomer, but brings the promise of a needed fresh point of view.I once held in high regard Dean Heller and Mark Amodei when they were serving in the state. In Washington, however, they signed the Norquist (anti-American) “no-new tax pledge” and appear to have sold out to big-money interests. This is not the Nevada independence they promised. They should be held accountable. Michon Mackedon for the Board of Regents seat would be a positive call for our university system. She is highly experienced and well respected in the university community. My suggestions for the very difficult position on the newly configured state Board of Education is Donna Clontz. The new state Board of Education will struggle with leadership and Ms. Clontz is capable of providing it. Rich Dunn for Assembly District 40 would bring some different, enlightened perspectives to this Assembly District. Much needed. Brad Bonkowski (Ward 1) and Molly Walt (Ward 4) are my choices for the Board of Supervisors. They are intelligent, experienced, and thoughtful. Molly also brings four years of excellent experience on the board. There are some excellent candidates for other positions and we will all struggle to make good decisions. Be assured, whatever we do will make a difference and we want the difference to make us a better community, state and nation, not a diminished one.• Eugene T. Paslov is a board member of the Davidson Academy at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the former Nevada state superintendent of schools. Endorsements are Paslov’s and not those of the Nevada Appeal.