Borough deserves mayoral forum

Letter to the editor

To the editor:
   Not many of us vote in primary elections, thinking, "How often does it matter?" Well, if you live in Hightstown, this one matters. The mayoral election in Hightstown may be decided by the June 4 Democratic primary, since the only two declared candidates are competing on that ticket. There isn’t much time left to choose whether to re-elect Mayor Amy Aughenbaugh or to pass the torch to our current council president, Mike Vanderbeck. How should we know?
   Many of us are still hoping for a public forum in which these two candidates can address concerns and share their positions directly with the voters. We’ve read all the letters to the editor, but they don’t answer the question: Who’s the best person to be our mayor? We don’t need anyone else telling us why to choose one or the other. We want to hear, see and compare for ourselves. We want to form our own impressions and make our own decisions.
   According to the League of Women Voters, Mayor Aughenbaugh has declined several invitations to participate in a public forum with Mr. Vanderbeck, her only competitor. So far, Mr. Vanderbeck has been the only mayoral candidate to publish his views on issues facing Hightstown. How can we evaluate Ms. Aughenbaugh’s candidacy when we have yet to hear from her directly?
   We’ve read the dramatic flurry of character attacks and endorsements over the past month. None of it means as much as a firsthand impression. As residents of a small town, where every vote matters, we deserve the opportunity to make well-informed decisions. I urge Mayor Aughenbaugh to participate in a public forum with Mr. Vanderbeck so we can let democracy do its work, instead of relying on hearsay and scandal to shape an election. Hightstown deserves better.
   Even if you’ve never voted in a primary before, this is one to show up for.
Amanda Porter