Greene County is in the midst of local election shenanigans from sign stealing to name calling and we’re already sick of it. Maybe we’re even marking days off the calendar until the ugliness goes away for another four years. However, we realize putting our heads in the proverbial sand isn’t going to help our county.

We’re not sure what it is about local elections that bring about nastiness, but it happens everywhere. It doesn’t make it right, it just makes it common. In an effort to raise the conversation—one on issues that matter to citizens and the future of Greene— we’ve agreed to step out on the ledge and sponsor local-candidate debates next month.

This is not something that has been done by the Greene County Record—at least in recent history—but it’s something we feel is most strongly needed to bring to focus the very real issues facing Greene—from the water supply project to impacts of increased growth.

Having a role in presenting a higher level of discourse was something that touched the heart of the founders of our one and only Greene County newspaper as evidenced in a September 1904 editorial that is just as true today:

“A paper is a vital part of our common interest and the progress of our county touches every individual. While a county paper may not be able to give all of the news of the day, or be at once both a general or special means of presenting the affairs going on in the world, the county paper should be upheld for the place which it alone fills in the upbuilding of our own affairs among us.”

The role of local government in our everyday lives cannot be overstated—from choosing our tax rates to voting on a budget to distribute those dollars throughout its numerous departments, from the sheriff’s office to the schools that educate our children—there is not one area of your daily lives that isn’t touched by those elected to our local offices.

Both debates will be held at William Monroe High School’s Performing Arts Center—thank you to the school system for allowing the use. On Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. debates will be held for sheriff, commonwealth’s attorney and clerk of court. On Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. all six candidates running for supervisor seats will be on stage. We are not hosting any state-level debates as we do not have the manpower. There are four other debates scheduled at this time for the 58th District delegate race in neighboring counties. There were no debates scheduled for local offices.

All contested offices have been invited to participate but we need you, the citizens, to also participate. We want questions to be submitted through an online portal (https://bit.ly/2kjEPgy), via letter to the office, via email to our main mailbox (news@ greene-news.com) or walked in to our office in Stanardsville by 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. And we need you to come out to view the debates with open minds.

As a newspaper we remain impartial. We will not endorse candidates on these pages, though we do invite letters to the editor. The last day to submit letters related to the election is Oct. 11. No letters submitted after this date will be run and no election-related letters will be printed the week prior to the election.

We also need you to remember to register to vote, if you’re not already, and to hit the polls on Nov. 5.

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