More forums needed to get to know all the candidates

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 1999

Wednesday, September 29, 1999

How will Austin Independent School District voters decide among 17 candidates for four seats on the school board?

It’s going to be hard.

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Four incumbents and 13 challengers make this a historic school board contest.

The media will do its part to describe the candidates and describe the issues. The Minnesota League of Women Voters in Austin are planning a television forum. The candidates themselves will be campaigning for votes.

But, it still will be hard to make a decision Tuesday, Nov. 2, Election Day.

Why don’t service clubs get involved? Veterans organizations, too. This is an opportunity for community service at its best. Southgate School is sponsoring one, Banfield another, and the League of Women Voters in cooperation with KSMQ-TV, a third. But there are 17 candidates – more forums can only help to illustrate their different ideas.

A group of service clubs and veterans organizations could sponsor a series of candidates forums with each sharing with the other three or four candidates at a time for question-and-answer sessions.

Naturally, the Mower County Senior Center should be included, given the huge stake our valued seniors on fixed-incomes have in tax matters.

That way, the candidates could present their views and voters could ask their questions in more informal settings.

The fact that the clubs and other organizations represent different constituencies is another asset to this process.

Time could be set aside for a presentation and/or debate on the school district’s levy override referendum, too.

The more exposure to information different groups gain about such a vital matter as education in Austin, the better.