Our view: Election voices easily heard in 2020
October 23, 2020
Candidates for public office participated in a forum this Wednesday night, organized by the Cloquet Area Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by our little newspaper along with WKLK Radio and CAT-7 (which will be soon operated by Pine Knot News, but isn’t yet).
We heard from candidates for the Cloquet school board, District 1 county commissioner, Cloquet city council, and our local Minnesota House and Senate districts. The information provided by each candidate should make it easier for voters to decide whom they will select in November’s election.
We believe it is the duty of the candidates to appear at a public forum like this for an election. But it’s not necessarily the duty of the local Chamber of Commerce to organize such a forum, so we applaud and appreciate their efforts to inform and educate the public about the local candidates. They’ve been doing it for years, and it really is a valuable voter service.
These forums are not debates — crossfire is not allowed, candidates are not allowed to interrupt or disrupt the forum — there is a sense of decorum and respect among all the candidates. That is as it should be. Local offices should never be allowed to become bitterly partisan, and since most of the local seats are not party-affiliated, we really are voting for the “person, not the party.”
Broadcasting the forum on the local radio station is valuable, too. Add in the multiple showings on cable access TV and the availability on the city website, and voters should have ample opportunity to evaluate candidates for important local offices.
Of course, we recognize that there is always room for improvement, so we plan to make future candidate forums more accessible, by posting the forum online and bringing back a live audience (which was prohibited this year due to the pandemic).
Between the candidate forum, the Pine Knot News voters’ guide — which we mailed free all over Carlton County — and the candidates’ campaigns, we trust you have the information you need to make informed voting decisions on Election Day Nov. 3.