Archived Story

League thanks many for success of forums

Published 4:49pm Tuesday, October 30, 2012

By Elizabeth Ennis, president, and Susan Gilbert, communications coordinator

League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties

The Voter Service team of the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties would like to thank all those who made last week’s four candidate forums such a success.

It’s a long list, but first of all the candidates who agreed to debate so voters could directly compare their positions on the issues:  Upton and O’Brien in the 6th Congressional District; Pagel and Arbanas in the 78th Legislative District; Lori and Moroz in the 59th District and Pscholka, Hahn and Oehling in the 79th District. Then the moderators: Susan Smith, president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan, John Egelhaff, executive director of the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission and John Eby of Leader Publications.

Many thanks to the organizations that hosted us at their facilities: The Cook/AEP administrative group in Buchanan, the Cass County Council on Aging in Cassopolis and the Area IV Agency on Aging in St. Joseph.

Special thanks to WSJM, whose team led by Jim Gifford provided the sound system in Buchanan and St. Joe and broadcast two of the four forums.  Also to the many newspaper correspondents and other TV and media representatives who attended and provided great coverage.

Eight other groups joined the league in co-sponsoring the forums and we appreciate them all: Leader Publications, Three Oaks Region Rotary, Dowagiac Rotary, Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce, Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce, Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce, Berrien Springs Eau Claire Rotary and Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.

The league is an all-volunteer organization so we want to be sure to thank all our volunteers who worked at the forums and, most of all,John Ripley, the Voter Service Chair, who orchestrated it all.

Last, but by no means least, our thanks to all of you citizens who came to listen and learn about the candidates.

Turnout was greater than expected, and greater than ever before, so two of the forums were crowded and got a little warm.  But you all listened intently and politely and, hopefully, learned something to help you with your decisions on Election Day.

Those of you who were at the forums, listened on WSJM or read the excellent newspaper articles on the debates, please be sure to vote on November.  The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., a long time. This is an important election and, as the fictional President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet of the TV show “West Wing” said about elections, “Decisions are made by those who show up.”

Be a decider, be a voter.

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