BY ROSANNA LANDIS WEAVER — This is our last issue before the city’s biennial election on May 7, so as we have in the past, we decided to let the candidates speak for themselves. This is a decisive race, with six seats on the ballot – and only one incumbent, David Hiles (Ward 2), among them. Eric Wingard, who currently holds the Ward 1 seat that is being contested, dropped out of the race less than a week after filing as a candidate. (See cover story.)
That left 10 residents vying for six seats.  We invited each candidate to submit 300 words of their choosing. They could, we told them, use the space to make their cases to the voters, explain their platforms or share why they’re running.  Nine of the candidates were able to respond by press time, and no matter what ward you are in we encourage you to read each of the profiles.  Whether these men (and, no, we don’t know why they’re all men this year – but that’s a discussion for another time), become your elected representatives or not, they are your neighbors. And good ones at that.
If you read through what each of them took the time to write  you may see, as we do, certain themes emerging.  Although the candidates on the ballot range in age from individuals in their 20s to one in his 60s, there are words that come up repeatedly.
It is striking, for example, how many mention the importance of a family-friendly community: more than one candidate explicitly states that they moved here when they were looking for the ideal place to raise their children.  Another theme we’re delighted to see is that of inclusivity:  Two candidates used part of their 300 words to reach out in Spanish.
There’s also an emphasis on civic participation and communication.  You’ll find some different emphases in each of course, from specific ideas on creating safer commutes, to ideas about positive local development, yet the overarching theme is one of great hope.