by Matt Marquardt, NorthIowaToday.com Publisher –
NIT crushed it. The candidate forum held Tuesday night at the Mason City library was nothing short of a great success for the candidates and the people of Mason City. And that was the reason for the forum in the first place. To elevate and inform the voters for a better Mason City.
What I’m about to write here is far from a comprehensive overview of last night’s outstanding candidate forum my team and I here at NorthIowaToday.com held with five city council candidates for the people of Mason City. I am pretty exhausted from scrambling to put the event together – not just from the sheer logistics of organizing it, but battling back those who wanted the forum to not be held at all – or fail in a spectacular way. Those dramatics will be covered in a second piece coming soon. In the meantime, I am happy to say those people are sorely disappointed today. And, I am even happier to say, those who were pulling for this forum to be a huge success – and maybe a landmark event – are feeling pretty darn good as we move forward.
I must start by thanking the five outstanding gentlemen who are running for our at-large council seat that threw their hats into the ring, became candidates, and never batted an eye in accepting my invitation to this event. Paul Adams. Jeff Christie. Jacob Krueger. Joshua Masson. Max Weaver. They questioned little or nothing, knowing that showing the citizens their openness was of paramount importance. They simply said “Matt, I will be there.” This meant a lot to me. They trusted me. More importantly, this showed me that these five candidates are truly candidates of the people, they care about transparency, they have nothing to hide. And they demonstrated this at the forum by sitting for over 2 hours and taking any question I or our full house of Mason City citizens could throw at them. Not one of them wavered. I salute these gentlemen. I wish they could all be installed on our city council right now. Over the last few years and culminating in the last few months, watching our city council and mayor in action has left many, many Mason City citizens feeling hopeless and left out. After last night’s forum, and getting to know these 5 candidates, I feel there is hope for Mason City. The right people are out there, folks, to turn this thing around. Choose wisely.
Of course, a forum is made more robust by an enthusiastic audience. And we had that. As many as 100 people came and went from the forum. We had hundreds – if not thousands – who tuned in at some point to watch the event live on Facebook; the video of the event has reached nearly 5,000 so far with a boost coming today. The forum can now be watched at anytime from our Facebook page; it’s pinned to the top. Our audience – nearly all of them Mason City citizens – submitted outstanding questions. I decided on the fly to edit nothing. Many of the questions – as expected – focused on jobs, growing our city, healing in the wake of Prestage, and much more. Some of the questions were tough on the mayor and current council. Well, rightfully so. I’ll go so far as to say, they deserve every ounce of criticism and vitriol the people of Mason City now have for them. They did it to themselves, and continue to dig a deeper hole. And I’m talking about the entire council and mayor. They have all said and done some awful things recently. Not one of them has been able to escape falling into that trap, and people have taken notice. Will the small sliver of our city’s population who will vote on September 20 take this into account? What about in next November’s monumental elections? We’ll see soon enough.
Again, I thank everyone for their support – however they contributed, even just by watching the video – in this important endeavor. I cannot close without thanking my team, again, for pulling together on short notice (this was done for a reason) to make this happen. Proud to have you all by my side.
As we march toward the election of September 20, let us all vow to do our duty and cast a ballot that day. Did you know, you can vote now at the courthouse? Yes, you can, and it’s easy. Each weekday before election day. Go down there and do what every American is supposed to do: Vote.