Candidates should use local forums to show they’re listening

Published 11:12 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Unlike national televised debates, local political forums give candidates a chance to interact directly with their potential constituents. But using those opportunities to share key platform information is critical to the experience.

Brundidge candidates had a chance to share their platforms with voters today at Brundidge Station, and Troy candidates will have the same opportunity Thursday night on The Square thanks to forums sponsored by the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee.

All the Troy candidates and a few Brundidge candidates have already participated in a forum hosted by the NAACP earlier this month at the Pike County Courthouse.

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One message came up repeatedly from most of the candidates in attendance: “I can’t make any promises but I will listen to the citizens of my district and work to represent them.”

Instead of telling voters that they will listen to them while in office, we hope that the candidates will show that they are already listening to the district’s residents about what needs changing.

It doesn’t mean that a candidate has to promise to fix every problem. As candidates have said at the forum, no one person can fix every problem and some problems take time to fix.

But right now, every candidate has such a similar message that voters can’t rely on anything other than campaigning, name recognition and personality for their decisions.

If candidates will talk about what they see as issues in the communities that they’ll be representing and how they would attempt to solve them, it would give voters a chance to identify which candidates they see as having the best grasp of the situation and the most realistic solutions.

That’s what the forums are designed to do. That’s what the voters need to hear. We hope that that’s what the candidates will give us this week.