Following last year’s debacle in which Republican candidates across Morris County refused to debate their opponents, we are pleased to find that here in Madison, every single candidate has answered the call in 2023.
The four candidates for three seats on the Madison Board of Education, David Duran, Lisa Ellis, Eric Fontes and Deirdre Ostrowski, participated in a virtual candidates forum hosted by the League of Women Voters and co-sponsored by this newspaper and the county NAACP chapter on Wednesday, Sept. 13.
Your Borough Council candidates will follow next week. Democrats John Forte, Robert Landrigan and Melissa Honohan and Republican Michael Martinez will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26 at the Hartley Dodge Memorial building for a separate forum to discuss their candidacies.
Engaged borough voters, people who want to know what they’re voting for on Election Day, should feel grateful that they have so many candidates willing to put themselves and their ideas on the line in this public format.
It is vital that residents hear from their candidates in debates and in press interviews, as opposed to controlled statements and one-sided social media posts, which is what many small-town elections have been relegated to with the disappearance of local media outlets.
In particular, we are eager to hear Forte, Landrigan and Martinez weigh in on the issues next week as the three vie for two seats on the council. Honohan is running unopposed to fill the final year of an unexpired term, and Mayor Robert Conley is also running unopposed for another four years as mayor.
The school board forum last week was enlightening; we encourage residents to watch it in full on the League of Women Voters of the Morristown Area’s YouTube page at youtube.com/c/MorristownAreaLeagueofWomenVoters.
If anything, the challenge with this year’s Board of Education race is that all four candidates are so qualified, engaged and unified on the issues. It is as if there are four running mates seeking only three seats on the school board.
Still, each candidate would bring his or own unique expertise and point of view to the Board of Education, and the virtual forum allowed each candidate’s qualities to shine through.
If you can’t watch the forum, we encourage you to engage with the candidates in the coming weeks or look for candidate profiles in this newspaper before Election Day to help you make up your mind in this race where there are no bad choices.
We hope the Borough Council forum this Tuesday will be just as informative and focused on the issues, and we hope you either attend or tune into this pillar of small-town democracy.