One of the main tenants to the success of our democracy is that candidates for elected office be available to state and explain their views on issues that affect the citizens they want to represent.

To help provide the voting public with an opportunity to hear the candidates’ views on a variety of issues, the Oskaloosa Herald agreed to sponsor and moderate two forums for Oskaloosa City Council candidates. We felt this would allow candidates the chance to tell the voters why they should be elected and allow the voters the ability to compare and contrast the candidates.

For the public to be truly informed, candidates must participate so that voters can determine which candidate best represents their views. Unfortunately, some candidates did not feel the need to participate.

At the first forum, two candidates, Jimmy Carter and Janet VanDerBeek, chose not to attend. At the second forum, Howard Gilchrist elected not to be present. We believe that their decision not to participate was a disservice to the citizens of Oskaloosa.

The Herald had met with supporters and candidates from various campaigns to inform and invite them to participate in the forums. Before the forums even began, the Herald was accused of prejudice and favoritism. This is a charge that we take very seriously and emphatically deny. The integrity of our paper and the press as an industry is based upon our impartiality.

We, as a paper, have been and continue to be criticized by individuals and organizations regarding our coverage of issues and events. This is an inherent part of journalism and being a newspaper. Still, we will continue to report the news as best we can as a service to our community.

We applaud those candidates who chose to come before the voters of Oskaloosa and let them know where they stand.

The comedian Woody Allen once said, “eighty percent of success is showing up.” Only 67 percent of the candidates decided to show up. Whether the three absent candidates will achieve success will be determined on Election Day. In any event, candidates who choose not to participate is no laughing matter. The voters of Oskaloosa deserve better.

Recommended for you