The Mount Dora Citizen interviews all willing candidates for Mount Dora City Council and publishes profiles of those candidates for its readers to consider.
The candidate profiles offered by the Mount Dora Citizen are those offered in the candidates’ own words. Investigative background is not done on the candidates interviewed. All candidates are informed of that when we schedule their interview. It is suggested to all candidates that they have their campaign materials on-hand when we call so that they we are better able to convey the message they would like voters to hear.
Interviews are done either in person or on the telephone. We speak directly to the candidates, ensuring there is not a group collaboration or answer provided.
The one exception is this question:
“What brief message (3 sentences or less) would you like residents to hear about your candidacy as they consider their choices for office in November?”
In that case, we do allow the candidate to offer the answer to us via email or in writing. Mr. Rolfson, council member-elect from District 2, Jim Murray candidate for District 3, and Cathy Hoechst candidate for At-Large all responded to that question via email.
The reason we interview in this manner?
Because that way, we can say with assurance to our readers that these are the candidates’ views, as related by them. The answers provided are not from handlers, fans, or friends. They are from the person you will elect, the person who will sit at the council table and make those decisions that affect the future of the community.
All interviews are conducted on the same day, within a couple of hours, from first to last. That way, no one candidate can review the response of their opponent on the site then and craft an answer with an unfair insight or advantage over his or her opponent, having read his or her answers.
Other blogs and news outlets allow email interviews. That’s fine. That’s their choice, and we support their choice to do that. We simply feel it is more genuine to speak directly to the candidate, and that is our choice.
There are two candidate profiles you won’t see here. That doesn’t mean they are not worthwhile or worthy opponents to the ones that were profiled. It simply means they chose not to participate in our interview process.
Mr. John Tucker is running for District 3 representative opposing Jim Murray. According to an email he sent to the Citizen, he preferred not to talk with us.
Ms. Susan Nemec, candidate running for the At-Large seat, opposing Cathy Hoechst, also would not speak with the Citizen. Despite assurances she would contact us, she did not respond to our requests.
At the time candidates are notified of the request to provide a candidate profile they are informed that we do not endorse candidates, that we do not do in-depth research, that we are providing and transcribing their own words. Candidates who may be nervous, or uncomfortable interviewing for our e-publication, are offered the opportunity to meet in person, and to bring along a guest of their choice, if that is more comfortable an experience for them.
This election, we are unable to provide a complete slate of candidates for your consideration. We regret that, but would like you to know the attempt was made.
That two of the candidates chose not respond is not – in any way – a commentary from the Mount Dora Citizen about their candidacy. We are certain there are other sources and methods for them to reach the voters.
So as always, do your homework, be informed, and we urge you to exercise your right to vote for the candidate of your choice.
Melissa DeMarco, Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)