I found last week’s candidate forum illuminating for two reasons.
First, a clear difference was on display in the Butler Township Trustee race where two challengers, Joe Flanagan and Tom Ziegler, are batting incumbent Doug Orange.
Flanagan made forceful arguments, and Orange defended his record over the past 20 years as a Township Trustee. The two sparred but were surprisingly friendly. It was a good debate.
The other candidate, Ziegler, struggled to show voters why he was on the stage. His lack of history in the Township and sometimes incoherent answers to questions place him a distant third in my view.
My second thought is more disappointing.
Three candidates, Rodney Washburn who is running for a seat on the Board of Education, Mark Adams who is running to retain his seat as Butler Township Fiscal Officer, and Dave Gerhard, who is running to retain his seat on the Vandalia City Council, chose to skip the forum.
In fact, none of the men had the courtesy to RSVP that they weren’t coming.
Now, to be clear, all are running unopposed, so to some their no-show may be justifiable, but it isn’t to me.
Other candidates who were running unopposed – Board of Education member Mary Kilshimer, Vandalia Mayor Arlene Setzer, Vandalia City Councilman Bob Ahlers and Council candidate Richard Herbst – should be commended for taking the time to speak with voters.
I believe voters have a right to hear from candidates, even those running unopposed. They should have the ability to question them publicly and challenge their positions.
I have nothing against any of the three men – in fact, I believe they are all well qualified for the offices they seek and/or currently hold.
But as a voter, their no-show would make me question if they are taking my vote for granted.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.