Forum showed good and bad

Published 10:12 am Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tuesday’s Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum was both encouraging and disappointing at the same time.

The event, hosted by the Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce, was designed to bring candidates for national, state and local races to the forefront, give voters the opportunity to hear what candidates have to say and ask questions firsthand.

It was encouraging that the 30 or 40 people who came to Bowman Auditorium at Ohio University Southern were interested, educated and engaged for the most part. It was disappointing that only 40 people decided to show up.

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It was encouraging that most of the candidates seemed to be well versed on the challenges facing Lawrence County, the State of Ohio and the United States of America. It was disappointing that most seemed content to toe the party line and condemn their opponents’ views as much on politics and procedure as on substance.

It was encouraging that some of the candidates have legitimate plans that ultimately could have a positive impact on Lawrence County and Southern Ohio. It was disappointing that those plans were few and far between and only scratched the surface of some of the region’s greatest needs.

It was encouraging to see candidates from minor parties be allowed to present their views in a system that has long been dominated by the big two political parties of Republican and Democrat. It was disappointing that none of those small party candidates offered much in the way of concrete plans or tangible evidence that they are in fact much different from their counterparts.

As a whole though, the event was a tremendous success and the chamber should be commended for its efforts.

American government, much like this event, will likely always be a mixture of encouragement and disappointment in some ways, so maybe this is a fitting result.