New Castle News Opinion

The results are in: New Visions’ first voters forum was a winner.

Under the direction of Angie Urban, New Visions for Lawrence County staged a Meet the Candidates night for Republican candidates in what are arguably next month’s most compelling primary election races: New Castle mayor, New Castle city council, New Castle school board and Lawrence County commissioners.

Democratic candidates will get their chance at 6 p.m. April 30 at The Confluence, where the inaugural forum took place.

New Visions, along with Kim Koller-Jones and the Blueprint Committee and other volunteers, have arranged the two forums. There is no debate and no formal question-and-answer period, but candidates get four minutes each to introduce themselves and make their case to the audience. Before and after their time in the spotlight, most of them also made themselves available in The Confluence dining room to talk to voters one-on-one.

Around 70 folks showed up in The Confluence event room to hear the candidates. As part of The News’ contribution to the night, we live-streamed the candidates talks and, as of this writing, the recorded video has been viewed thousands of times.

The News also published a Voters Guide on the day before the forum, profiling the candidates who were to appear. We’ll be doing similar publications for other races around the county, starting April 25, when we’ll put the spotlight on candidates who are running for local school board posts.

With literally dozens of candidates seeking one office or another around Lawrence County, it would be impossible to stage this kind of event for each race. We encourage residents of the county’s townships, boroughs and suburban school districts to check out the upcoming Voters Guides that will feature candidates from their neck of the woods.

But we’re firmly on board with New Visions in spotlighting the four aforementioned races. For starters, no matter where you live in the county, you can cast a vote for a commissioner hopeful. As for the three city races, sure, they pertain mostly to New Castle residents only when it comes to the ballot box. And yet, what happens in these races — in terms of blight eradication, Act 47 departure, downtown revitalization and school test grades — really impacts all of the county, as a more vibrant, financially robust New Castle creates opportunities in all municipalities.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend the GOP forum, we urge you to watch the video on our Facebook page. While all candidates expressed what came across as a sincere desire to serve the electorate and make their hometown a better place, we believe that a handful demonstrated exceptional passion. We’re not going to identify them — we’ll let you watch the video and draw your own conclusions.

And once you do that, make plans to come to the 6 p.m. April 30 Democratic forum at The Confluence. The News will be live-streaming that one as well, so if you can’t make it, that video, too, will be available on our website after the event.

Urban & Co. have demonstrated a desire to improve our community on many fronts, not the least of which is helping to create informed voters. We urge you to take advantage of their efforts. 

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