Last Thursday evening at the Park Center, most of the candidates running for local political office -- i.e., city council, mayor's office, and school board -- were on hand to discuss why they are seeking support from the voters.
Approximately 50 citizens showed up to ask a series of thoughtful questions of the various candidates. Those vying for public support had to demonstrate a command of the issues and the ability to respond intelligently under a time limit and with the pressure of an onlooking crowd.
The event, sponsored by Soroptimist International of Mount Adams, was a slice of grass roots democracy in action. The local Soroptimists deserve a great deal of credit for organizing this forum, which offered voters a rare chance to meet the candidates in one room and hear their views on the issues.
This political forum was a refreshing change from the poisonous, partisan atmosphere we see too much of at the national level. Here, not only were there no attacks on opposing candidates, there was often praise and agreement with positions taken by an opponent.
We appreciate all the candidates who showed up to meet with the public. Those who have stepped up to run for public office deserve to be honored for performing a public service, and they deserve our respect. Regardless of who wins or loses at the voting booth on Nov. 8, these candidates have shown courage and demonstrated their deep concern for the community. Their views may vary slightly, but they all have shown the capacity to be effective leaders.
Further, we can all be grateful so many citizens turned out on a rainy weekday night for an open and honest discussion of local political issues. Our electoral system could do with a lot more of this type of event.