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To the editor:

I encourage the public to attend the local forums being planned for Thursday, Oct. 5, in Great Bend at the Senior Center and for Thursday, Oct. 12, in Hoisington at the Friendship House. Both events start at 6 p.m. The outcome of local elections is important to our communities. While the media tends to focus on national and state candidates, local elections are often overlooked. This is regrettable as local officials hold great importance in our daily lives. All the quality-of-life issues that most people are concerned about are discussed and handled at the local level. 

City and county boards generally take responsibility for parks and recreation services, police and fire departments, housing services, emergency medical services, municipal courts, and public works, like streets and sewers, and determine property taxes. Our school boards establish the vision and goals for our public schools and set the standards for the performance of schools and superintendents. College trustees review academic programs, help to approve major policies, make long-range plans, oversee the budget, and raise funds for the institution. Mayors are involved in advancing community cohesion, promoting civic awareness, and helping to plan for the current and future needs of our community. 

Our local elected officials play a major role in how our city and county functions. The decisions they make affect our daily lives much more than state and federal authorities. I am thankful for their leadership and commend their efforts to enrich our quality of life.

Janice Walker

Barton County League of Women Voters

Great Bend