Who will lead Valdosta in the coming four years?

You get to decide.

The men vying to be Valdosta’s next mayor took part in an open forum Monday evening and made their case for office.

They presented themselves well.

Kevin Bussey, Scott James Matheson, J.D. Rice and David Sumner laid out their respective visions for the city and answered questions from moderator Roy Kirkland. 

The event was put together by Kirkland’s RKDS Film Fest group, Angela Ward and The Game Changers. 

Attendance at the debate indicates a lot of interest in this city election and that is a good thing because turnout for city elections has been abysmal the last few go-rounds. 

This election should be about vision coupled with the skill sets to get things done. 

This election should be far more than a popularity contest or a mere matter of who is the best public speaker. 

We hope this public event giving potential voters the opportunity to hear from the candidates themselves is the first of many. 

There is a lot of time leading up to the Nov. 5 election and you still have time to register to vote, learn all you can about the candidates and make good, well-thought-out decisions.

Even the candidates don’t officially qualify to run for more than a month. An announced candidate could have a change of heart between now and then; or someone else could enter the mayor’s race between now and the end of qualifying in August.

Still, we encourage our readers to become more informed voters.

It is up to each candidate to make his or her case for elected office.

No one should vote for someone simply because they think the candidate is a nice person, they attend church together, are in the same civic club, are relatives or part of a certain social circle.

You should vote for the person you think will do the best job.

Campaigns should be looked at as job interviews.

Voters should interview each candidate by asking questions, listening to speeches, probing backgrounds, analyzing voting records and past performance.

Elections should be more about principle than politics.

The vote is our ultimate recourse.

You may have concerns regarding how city government is doing the people’s business.

You may have concerns about government transparency, government spending, city taxes, business regulations or government services.

Who do you support?

Do you know the positions of the candidate(s) you support on these and other relevant issues facing our community?

Elections give us the opportunity to stay the course or vote for change.

The voting booth is our opportunity to influence the future of our city. 

We elect mayors and members of city council to make important decisions that will affect our city’s future.

It is disheartening that only a small portion of registered voters tend to make it to the polls.

Voting is a right and a privilege.

We encourage our readers to inform themselves, make wise decisions based on ideologies, past performance, platforms and matters of principle, rather than on personality, popularity or party alone.

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