Op-Ed: Voting is not enough: Why You Should Go to Candidate Forums

Monday, October 9, 2017

By Tom Petersen

Anybody can look good in a brochure. Anybody can print and post signs. But you wouldn't consciously vote for "just anybody," would you?

The idea undergirding our American Republic from the very beginning is that we have a participatory democracy: that an informed electorate selects its representatives and public servants from among those they know, contact them frequently, and return them to office or bounce them as the quality of their service would deserve. The office holders themselves are assumed to make every practicable effort to stay in touch with their constituents.

If it doesn't always seem to work that way, it's not for lack of opportunity. Over the next two weeks, candidates for city council, school board, fire commissioner, sheriff, county executive, the wastewater board, and more will be speaking and campaigning at neighborhood community meetings and specially promoted gatherings in Shoreline.

It's your chance to "get behind and beyond the brochure:" see for yourself what these people who would speak for you are really like, answer the questions you'd like answers to.

Equally important, the office seekers get to see you. You are not a poll number, a demographic slice, a category: you are a person with a life and a community and friends and neighbors, and politicians need to see that, feel that, and be reminded of that.

Speaking of neighbors: they see you too. The strongest communities anywhere in this nation are those where people are secure in the knowledge that other people care, too, and people know each other and put some effort into working together and with their public servants to maintain the general welfare and preserve domestic tranquillity. Going to candidate forums in advance of an election sends a powerful message.

Here's hoping to see a great many of you at the events between now and Election Day!

Candidate forums this week


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