EDITORIAL: Town Forum is your page

In the four to six weeks prior to the Nov. 5 elections, this page was brimming with letters to the editor either touting a resident’s favorite candidate or criticizing his or her opponent.
   Our sister publications even printed letters from candidates themselves, highlighting their vision within their respective communities.
   Such letters are a crucial aspect of democracy, exercising one’s First Amendment rights with regard to one of America’s most revered civic duties — voting.
   However, the week after Election Day, like so many before, was bereft of letters. Regardless of the election results, the dust began its inevitable settling and this page reverted to its normal structure — a lengthy roundup highlighting various legislative matters of interest.
   Apparently lost on some residents who peruse this publication is the fact that this is your page. Town Forum is for those who call Robbinsville, Allentown, Upper Freehold, Plumsted, Millstone and, yes, even Roosevelt home — as well as for those who care about what happens within the confines of those communities, but live beyond their borders.
   Local letter writers often broach state, national and even international matters of interest, as well.
   Elections, the candidates who run in them and the initiatives they run for are clearly important. However, the issues and matters discussed within campaign letters themselves don’t begin in the first week of October only to culminate in the first week of November.
   Residents should feel welcome to send letters about the issues that concern them Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. Newspapers rely on many deadlines, but most matters of township or borough life do not.
   That is not to say that this page is only for the negative. If an effort by a local council or committee, for example, saves your municipality significant sums of money, why not write in praise?
   In addition, letters to the editor are effective ways to praise others beyond the confines of government. Highlighting the efforts of groups accomplishing philanthropic feats is a wholly appropriate use for this page, as is encouraging supports for such efforts that are ongoing.
   As the headline indicates, this is your page. Do not hesitate to spur conversations, criticize or praise your leaders, point out injustice, recognize those who sacrifice for the benefit of others — whatever the reason may be.
   As important as the freedom to vote is, so is the freedom of expression. We want your expressions, we want your voice.
   Just as a friendly reminder, letters should not exceed 400 words and must include the writer’s address and daytime telephone number, which is used for confirmation purposes only and will not be published.
   It is the policy that the editor reserves the right to edit letters. Deadline for submissions is noon Monday for Thursday’s paper. Letters may be submitted by email to jmcevoy@centraljersey.com.