Over the last few weeks, the Herald & Review's editorial board has met with candidates for Decatur's mayor, city council and school board. The setting is a meeting room at the H&R office, and the process is generally a casual question-and-answer session, a conversation where the candidates detail their thoughts and plans as much as they can.
We've met people who truly care about the city, its people, our public schools and the students who attend them.
One thing more than one candidate has mentioned during our meetings is a bit of surprise at the lack of controversy and contentiousness so far in the campaign.
We reserve the right to acknowledge a change of tone among the candidates or electorate should one occur. But the last decade has seen its share of arguments. We've been through an effort to change Decatur's government to a strong mayor system, replacing Paul Osborne after his resignation from the office and a backlash against Mike “Tuna” McElroy in his mayoral re-election attempt after his campaign for a state senate seat. McElroy retained the mayorship after defeating three opponents. The 2017 city election featured multiple candidates for school board and city council along with a heated race for mayor between incumbent Julie Moore Wolfe and John Phillips.
What does the lack of fervor mean? Maybe candidates are being heard better so they don't have to turn up the heat to make themselves heard. We hope it's not an indication of a decrease in interest.
The Herald & Review will offer the public a chance to hear the candidates next month at Shilling Community Education Center auditorium at Richland Community College. On Wednesday, March 13, school board candidates debate at 6 p.m. At the same venue the following evening, the city council candidates debate at 6 p.m. and the trio running for mayor begin their debate at 7:15 p.m.
The mayor candidates' thoughts about economic development were in Sunday's Herald & Review, and there will be more essays from them in coming Sunday editions.
Don't forget about your opportunity to share your enthusiasm or express your unhappiness with any of the candidates. Let us know in 300 words what you're thinking at herald-review.com/letters, by email at email@example.com or by postal mail to 601 E. William St., Decatur, IL, 62523-1142.