The final public forum for the local mayoral race took place in Sauder Concert Hall on Monday evening, and exemplified everything that local politics are about.

Mary Cripe, a Republican candidate, and Jeremy Stutsman, a Democratic candidate, took their last chance to inform the Goshen community about their policies and plans for the office if they are elected next week.

The forum was arranged by the Yoder Public Affairs Committee and moderated by Duane Stolzfus, professor of communication. It consisted of three sections: five prepared questions posed by students from Goshen College, questions written on notecards from members of the audience and finally two questions that each candidate could pose directly to the other.

The candidates each noted that there are many subjects on which they agree, such as their priorities in the development of transportation and their plans for the continued improvement of environmental safety in the city of Goshen.

It seems to me that this is an example of what is so wonderful about local politics—rather than being concerned about differentiating themselves from their opponents, Cripe and Stutsman together support the projects that are important for the betterment of the city.

They also refused to lower the standard of the forum by posing questions to each other which were intended to catch the other off guard. Instead, Stutsman asked Cripe how she and her family are holding up during a stressful campaign, and Cripe asked Stutsman if he and his wife would join her and her husband for dinner after election day—an invitation which Stutsman happily accepted.

During the closing statements of the forum, both candidates expressed their gratitude for the audience’s engagement in the campaigns. Stutsman also added that in the past, voter turnout in Goshen has not been ideal. He encouraged those in attendance to continue the trend of increasing voter turnout by bringing a friend along—and not just a friend that will vote similarly.

Stutsman added that local government affects daily life and is more accessible to citizens than federal government, and so community members should take advantage of the opportunity that they have to make a difference.

Although the audience for the forum was somewhat lacking in college students, it isn’t too late for students to learn about their choices in the election.

Our special insert this week is designed to help inform students about the candidates, so flip to the center and invest yourself in our local government, because they’re invested in you.