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Do your homework before voting

• Nov 1, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Earlier this month, the Tribune hosted a forum with Grand Haven’s candidates for mayor. Incumbent Geri McCaleb and Councilman Mike Fritz both took time out of their hectic schedules to attend the forum, which took place at Grand Haven High School.

The forum was coordinated with the Advanced Placement government class at GHHS.

We chose to pursue this forum because we feel it’s very important that our high school students gain a better understanding of government at a local level. Their teacher, Keith Swets, explained that his class focuses on government on a national scale, and doesn’t really touch on local issues.

To help prepare the kids for the forum, Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis visited the class and explained how our city government works. The students then crafted their own questions for the mayoral candidates, and their questions were outstanding.

They wanted to know what’s happening with Grand Landing, where the candidates stand on the deer cull, what’s being done about a lack of parking in downtown Grand Haven, and how the debate over short-term rentals might hurt Grand Haven as a tourist town.

Not surprisingly, the students also had a lot of environmental and social concerns. They wanted to know what’s being done to increase diversity in Grand Haven, and what’s the future of our local power plant?

The first question asked struck us as the most meaningful of all: Why should we be concerned with local government if we’re not old enough to vote?

Both Fritz and McCaleb offered similar answers, urging the students to do all they can to make their voice heard, either by volunteering on a committee or contacting the mayor directly with their concerns.

It was inspiring to see these students so interested, even excited, to learn about politics on a local level.

As the candidates pointed out, local government is the most responsive form of government and the easiest to contact.

We would like to thank both Mayor McCaleb and Councilman Fritz for their willingness to participate in this forum, Mr. Swets for getting his class involved, and the students who took time to ask questions and listen to the answers.

If you would like to get to know these two candidates a little better before casting your vote on Nov. 7, visit www.ghtrib.com, where you’ll find a Q&A article in which both candidates answered a series of questions about hot-topic issues across our area. You can also visit the Tribune’s Facebook page, where we posted a live stream of our candidates forum.

The right to vote is one that we should all take very seriously, and we feel it’s imperative to do your homework on the candidates and issues prior to visiting the polls.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Mark Brooky. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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