Political forums such as the one recently hosted by the Herald & Review at Richland Community College are a useful opportunity to hear officeholders state in public their stances on a variety of issues.
The Herald & Review has received undeserved criticism in this space from some who attended but did not like the format or the answers to questions provided by U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, or state Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur. This forum, which I attended, was never advertised as a town hall, debate or otherwise yell-your-questions-from-the-audience event. Questions were solicited by the newspaper in advance and at the event. Editor Chris Coates took the time to read each one and choose what I heard that night as a wide variety of topics and concerns. Davis and Caulkins are on the record. Good.
Many in the audience didn't like the answers, the format or even the questions, but it seems hardly helpful to malign the motivation of the newspaper for participating. You don't have to thank the Herald & Review, but a little more appreciation for the willingness of your local newspaper to bring our political leaders and their constituents together is in order.
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The next election is in 2020, and the Herald & Review will doubtless host debates and town halls as it always has. The issues and candidates will be covered by the newspaper, and voters will have a chance to use that information to make an informed decision.
The forum at Richland was a start.
John Reidy, Decatur