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Our View...And the question is ...?

Believe it or not, Election Day is a little more than a month away. Are you ready? We aren't. There are a lot of questions to be asked between now and then, issues to be discussed and examined, candidate statements to be vetted and votes to be de...

Believe it or not, Election Day is a little more than a month away. Are you ready?

We aren't. There are a lot of questions to be asked between now and then, issues to be discussed and examined, candidate statements to be vetted and votes to be decided.

National, state and even regional newspapers, radio and television stations have been yammering on about the presidential race for what seems like years. There are myriad sources of reputable fact-checked news about national and statewide candidates and even more sources that aren't reliable or reputable, just opinionated. (We hope you'll place them firmly in the entertainment category where they belong.)

But enough about the national races and all the hoopla. It's the local candidates we're focused on. After all, there aren't many places you can learn about your local city and school district candidates, or even those running for state legislature. Maybe you shook a candidate's hand at the Labor Day parade, or said hello at the grocery store. But did you have time to ask them what they thought about the pending state budget deficit, bringing vocational education back to the schools or getting a snow machine out at Pine Valley?

With a Local Candidate Forum ¬- sponsored by the Legislative Affairs committee of the Cloquet Area Chamber of Commerce and largely focusing on Cloquet candidates* - set for Tuesday, Oct. 23, and the Pine Journal voter guide for Carlton County coming out a week later, now is the time to ask your questions.

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Are you worried about classroom sizes? Perhaps you're wondering what a city council candidate plans to do about the street in front of your house. And what exactly do the legislative candidates think about raising taxes?

Go ahead, call us with suggested questions at 218-879-1950 or email news@pinejournal.com . We will pass them on to Barry Bergquist and Pete Radosevich - moderators of the Oct. 23 candidate forum - and keep them in mind for our own candidate interviews.

Of course, prospective voters are encouraged to attend the forum in person and submit their own questions that night. Historically, public turnout has been abysmal ... hopefully because folks were glued to the television set watching CAT-7.

The Pine Journal will also report on the candidate responses in that week's paper, in addition to doing our own election guide as well as stories on all the referendum questions, including a proposed educational levy in Esko and a half-cent sales tax question in Cloquet.

It is, after all, our job to help inform and your job to get informed.

But time is running out and we've all got a job to do. Do your part for democracy. Cast an educated vote!

Jana Peterson

*The Local Candidate Forum will be televised live on CAT-7 (cable access TV) from 5-7:30 p.m. and several more times before the Election Day; WKLK radio will also broadcast live from the event. Candidates invited to the three-part forum include Cloquet City Council candidates - Roy Maki and Lara Wilkinson for the At-Large post, Steve Langley and interim Councilor Mark Roberts for Ward 5 - along with District 1 Carlton County Commissioner candidates Dick Brenner (incumbent) and former Cloquet City Councilor Erik Blesener. Also invited are Senate District 11 candidates Tony Lourey (DFL, incumbent) and Bill Saumer (Republican) as well as House District 11A candidates Jim Putnam (Republican), Cory Pylkka (Independence) and Mike Sundin (DFL). Cloquet School Board candidates Duane Buytaert, Jim Crowley, Gary "Hawk" Huard and Brett Wienen are also invited.

Related Topics: OUR VIEW
Opinion by Jana Peterson
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