Questions That Need Answers

untitledLast year, the Texas Education Agency gave Jefferson Independent School District a grade of “C.” Do you think that is good enough? Would you like to ask a potential school trustee what he or she thinks?

Four months have passed since Dixie Humane Society and its animal shelter imploded on a cold, rainy night. The City of Jefferson has yet to make new arrangements to capture stray dogs or house the ones they catch.

Is there someone you would like to ask about that issue? You might also want to know how candidates in the May 4 election stand on property tax rates, new school construction and teacher pay.

Jefferson residents may want to know how a potential alderman would vote on devoting more sales tax money to tourism or when the water and sewer project will be finished.

You will have an opportunity to hear answers to those and other questions at a candidate forum Monday, April 15 at the Jefferson Institute beginning at 5:45 P.M. The event is sponsored by the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, the Jefferson Institute and the Jimplecute.

If you have a question for a candidate or candidates, you can email your inquiry to, or if you are reading this column online, you can simply add it as a comment.

Those who offer themselves in local elections for posts that often have no or only token pay, have my admiration and respect. Democracy does not work without good people running for local offices.

We need them as much as they need our vote. If you don’t like any of the candidates in an election, you should run next time. While everyone wants to explore the local issues of the day, the candidate forum is not meant to be a “gotcha” moment.

Most of us draw our sense for whom we wish to vote from more than a checkbook balance of how many positions we agree upon less how many disagreements. A candidate’s stand on issues is important, but not everything. Often voters get a feel for whether or not they like a candidate from an almost indefinable set of criteria.

Remember Nixon’s beard? A forum like the one set for Monday evening gives you that opportunity to size up the field. No one expects candidates to be stand-up comedians, but I have known these forums to be light-hearted and even fun.

Once, a candidate for county judge, at a forum I moderated in another county, started singing, “Make Me Your Servant,” for his concluding remarks. Those running for public office should want to share their thoughts about what can be done to improve student test scores at JISD, or what does the 27 percent drop in Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue to the city in the first quarter signify or where they think tax dollars are wasted.

I want to hear what they have to say. Forums like the one set for Monday are truly the marketplace of ideas. Not every idea is a good one. Not everyone who has a good idea wins. But when fresh ideas get aired, innovation can occur and progress happen.

As of this writing, all but one of the candidates have notified the Jimplecute that they plan to attend and have submitted responses to the candidate questionnaire. In addition to Monday night, those responses will be printed in the Jimp before the election.

Monday will be interesting because of people and ideas. Hope to see you there.

Remember, early voting begins April 22.


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