Back in February when we launched our weekly Ask the Candidates series questioning those vying for Frankfort mayor and city commission seats about their positions on important issues, we had no way of knowing what a valuable feature it would become for Frankfort voters. Many of you have told us so.
Pre-COVID-19, who among us could have imagined an election without door-to-door campaigning, stump speeches, candidate forums and debates? The candidates’ limitations on getting their message to voters via conventional methods has only strengthened the importance of the Ask the Candidates feature, especially during an election of this magnitude. However, based on the participation rate, it seems not all the candidates share that belief.
The nonpartisan race includes five candidates for mayor — Tommy Haynes, Jason Keller, Stewart Perkins, Layne Wilkerson and Rodney Williams — and each candidate is allowed up to 300 words to answer our questions.
Haynes and Wilkerson have submitted answers to all 17 of our questions to date. Williams missed just one and has answered 16. Keller has answered 12 and Perkins has participated 11 times.
On the city commissioner side, 12 candidates — Harry Carver, Tim Childers, Shannon Griffith, Kelly May, Will Prible, Anna Marie Rosen, Diane Strong, Brent Sweger, Kyle Thompson, Leesa Unger, Katrisha Waldridge and Eric Whisman — are vying for the commission's four seats. Commissioner candidates are allotted 200 words per answer.
Only three — Strong, Rosen and Carver — have answered every question. Thompson is 16-for-17 with Childers right behind with 15. The number of times the other candidates have answered are Sweger (11); Unger (10); May and Prible (six); Waldridge and Whisman (five); and Griffith (three).
The point of this feature is to help voters become more informed on pressing local topics in order to choose candidates whose views align with their own. But to do that, participation is key. The candidates, whom we are giving a free platform, need to answer the questions.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the primary election has been moved to Tuesday, June 23. The top two finishers in the mayoral race and the top eight vote-getters in the city commission race will qualify for the Nov. 3 general election. In these final weeks, we urge our readers to pay close attention to who's answering the tough questions — and who's not.