Recently, Garden City and southwest Kansas had the opportunity to come talk and listen to a question-and-answer forum organized by the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce. My major take away from Wednesday’s event wasn't about the interesting differences between the candidates, but instead the low turnout of those in the area who attended. This was especially discouraging on several fronts.
First, we voters often only get to hear soundbites from candidates (usually out of context), or what news organizations think we should hear. Wednesday night was an "ear opener" for me. While I still came away supporting the candidate I originally supported, I learned more about this candidate's positions on a number of topics. But I also learned enough about other candidates that made me feel comfortable supporting them if my candidate doesn't win in the upcoming primary.
Second, and most importantly, was the fact that these men came out here to Garden City to share their time with us to discuss the issues facing our state, of which there are many! Yet, many of the eligible voters of Finney County didn't want to invest any of their time to attend this program. Shame on us! We bellyache about how no one from eastern Kansas knows that we exist, yet we didn't give any of these candidates any reason to listen to us if they do get elected as our next governor.
So when you are trying to decide on Tuesday, July 24, whether to attend the Democratic forum put on by the chamber, maybe think twice about what message your non-presence in the audience is sending to our potential next governor.
TODD J. DAUBER
Dauber is a Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce board member.