MANSFIELD -- We are halfway through a new concept in the coverage of local politics and government. The good news is, we have learned more about what local residents think are the important issues.
The better news is, you still have three weeks in which to participate.
The Richland Source six-week listening tour, which we call "Talk the Vote," is making stops in each of Mansfield's six wards.
Our first session was on Sept. 9 at Mansfield Christian School in the 1st Ward. We were at Source Publisher Jay Allred's house in the 2nd Ward on Sept. 16. We spent the hour Monday at Theatre 166 in the 3rd Ward.
It's the first time we have attempted this unique format, sessions led primarily by local residents/voters with a only a bit of Richland Source moderation.
Each session has been attended by numerous city of Mansfield elected officials and candidates, both Republicans and Democrats. To their credit, they have all done a great job of just listening since they have a non-speaking role in these meetings. We've also invited the Board of Elections to demonstrate the new voting machines that will be in use for the upcoming election.
During the next three weeks, you are invited to join us and share your questions and concerns about the future of the city through a guided discussion.
Below is the schedule for the remainder of our tour. The meetings, scheduled from 6 to 7 p.m., are open to the public. We ask merely that you click each link to register for your event, which allows us to have an accurate headcount of who may attend.
Ward 4 - Sept. 30 - Richland Source (We are planning on pizza and beer for this one!)
Ward 5 - Oct. 7 - North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC)
Ward 6 - Oct. 14 - SC Event Center
We limit these evening discussions to an hour. These are designed to be smaller, more intimate gatherings, during which residents/voters should feel comfortable asking questions and sharing what they believe should be priorities in the next term.
The primary question we are asking is: "What do you want candidates to be talking about during this election season as they campaign for your votes?"
Our goal in these discussions is twofold: One, to collect questions and discussion topics for the Mansfield Mayoral Debate hosted in part by Richland Source on Oct. 17.
The second goal is to create what we're calling "The People's Agenda," which we will publish on Nov. 6. We will compile what we heard from Mansfield residents about their top priorities for their newly-elected government officials, and send those priorities directly to the new mayor and city council.
Space will be limited, so make sure to reserve your seat today.
If you have questions about any of the events, contact Brittany Schock via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 419-989-6534.