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From the Editor: Urge Candidates to Say Yes to Debates

by Lisa Ellison

I don’t know about you, but I, for one, hate political campaigns. I’ve participated in the local election process in one way or another for a few cycles now. Whether I was working with a particular campaign or covering the election here in the Guardian, I’ve found the self-promotion required of candidates insipid and, quite honestly, deplorable. Worse yet, I’ve enabled it: I was Rick Smiley’s campaign manager during his unsuccessful bid for the at-large seat in 2011 (Sorry Rick!).

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But what bothers me most is the seemingly inevitable push to make irrelevant things the focal point of the process. I believe that must change, and the Guardian’s sponsorship of the 2015 Greenville Municipal Election Debate Series is my attempt to encourage a new approach. I think both voters and the candidates seeking to represent them deserve another option, one I believe is far superior: the meaningful exchange of ideas.  

The debate series was announced Sunday, August 9. Since then I’ve worked with several candidates to get their sessions scheduled. Please ask your council representatives and hopefuls to participate. If they’re already in, they’ll tell you so–and please be sure to thank them. But if they’re not, let them know their participation is important in helping you make a more informed choice in November. Here is the public contact information for each candidate; incumbents’ email addresses are listed on the city’s website.

Labor Day is the traditional start of the municipal campaign season. It’s my sincere hope that voters and candidates alike will join me in insisting that this election focuses on issues–not personalities, or personal attacks.

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