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Surviving city candidates need additional exposure

March 13, 2001

Surviving city candidates need additional exposure



The Hagerstown city election primary for 2001 is history. To the winners, we offer our congratulations. To those who weren't successful, we say thanks for giving the voters more choices than they've had in a long time. Now it's time for citizens and civic organizations to find a way to expose the candidates and their views to a greater number of people.

Now The Herald-Mail has run candidates' answers to questionnaires and WHAG radio's Will Kauffman did a series of candidate radio interviews that ran from March 1 to March 9. And the League of Women Voters held a "meet the candidates" event this past Saturday morning at the Washington County Museum in Hagerstown's City Park.

That event drew close to 50 citizens, a good turnout for a chilly day, but less than the number who should be able to see and hear the candidates in action. At this point, the only other event scheduled is on Friday, May 11 at 7 p.m., when Hagerstown Community College Professor Spring Ward's government and politics class and the League of Women Voters will hold a candidate forum at HCC's Valley Mall campus.

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At the very least, a strong effort should be made to get this event televised on Antietam Cable TV, which has previously taped and broadcast candidate forums, rebroadcasting them not just once, but several times.

Such an arrangement gives those people who can't attend a forum in person a chance to see the candidates thinking on their feet, answering questions without consulting friends or campaign managers. Even though there's usually a limited amount of time to respond, we've always found it easy to tell who's got more to say than is possible in two minutes and who's trying to pad their comments to fill up the time.

But doing such programs involves a large commitment of time, labor and energy and probably a sponsor or two to subsidize it. As we said earlier this month, it's time to devise a way to make such a thing a tradition, instead of the maybe-yes, maybe-no thing it's been up until now.

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