This week the Great Bend League of Women Voters hosted a local candidates forum and as usual they put a lot of work into it. Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives were also invited but were busy attending another forum with KWCH television.
The Great Bend Tribune and Eagle Radio helped with the local forum, and League President Jari Marietta noted that Sunflower Diversified Services printed the programs and Rosewood provided water. Rose Kelly moderated.
The League meets at noon on the second Tuesday of each month at the Classic Inn.
“The League of Women Voters is a grassroots volunteer and political organization. We neither support nor oppose candidates or parties,” Marietta said. The group does take a stance on issues. The questions posed to candidates were based on issues the members – which includes both men and women – have studied.
Forums such as these provide an opportunity to learn more about the people seeking office, and to get an impression of how they handle themselves and what their priorities are. Sometimes, especially if they are not already in office, they get a question that is new to them. It’s also good to see how a person says, “I don’t know; I need to learn more about that,” in 60 seconds.
The questions themselves were educational. They brought to light ideas currently being considered in Topeka. When candidates were asked, “Do you agree?” or “Do you support?” they were also asked to explain their answers.
The League is concerned about challenges to voting: the challenges of registering, which includes providing proof of citizenship; the challenge of getting registered voters to vote, whether by mail or at the polls; and finally, the challenge of having voters make informed decisions.
Those who attended the forum, listened on the radio or read the stories in the Tribune had an opportunity to be informed.