Editorial: Forums are a necessity

This week, Spotlight Newspapers is pleased to announce we will once again be partnering with the League of Women Voters of Albany County and other community groups to host a number of debates with candidates running in September primaries.

The nitty-gritty details of the debates may be found in a front- page story in this edition, but it boils down to this: next week, voters will have the opportunity to hear from and ask questions of candidates for the 109th and 110th Assembly districts, the 44th Senate District, Albany County

district attorney and Bethlehem Town Board.

We can say this primary cycle will see the most ambitious round of events The Spotlight has been engaged in since we started partnering with the League for these forums. And we couldn’t be happier about that.

“Why’s that?” you might ask. It is because these events present the public with a unique and valuable opportunity to encounter their candidates face-to-face, all in one place. Especially in this primary season, where there are two very crowded races, even the engaged voter might not have all the information on the candidates he or she needs to make an informed choice.

As a community paper, we are proud to facilitate the education of the voting public. And as purveyors of truth and equitability, we find there are few other vehicles that serve that mission quite as well as a debate.

In our upcoming events, members of the League of Women Voters and our other volunteer groups will convey written questions from the public to a moderator, who will then ask the questions of the candidates. This is as fair a setup as anyone could ask for that also allows for the best use of limited time, and we feel the public is well served by it. For most, this will be the sole opportunity to hear the candidates go on the record, in real time on a level playing field. That’s something that can never be afforded in a door-to-door visit or even in the pages of a newspaper.

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