MOUNT VERNON — Conversations regarding timely topics and interesting tidbits are held on a daily basis, whether around the water cooler, outside on a smoke break or around the family dinner table. These exchanges of viewpoints and opinions often open one’s mind to other ways of seeing things. The Up for Discussion community forum, sponsored by the Mount Vernon News, allows local residents, and guests, the opportunity to contribute conversation ideas and voice their opinions during the exchange.
According to Cheryl Splain, News Editor, more than 30 were in attendance during the April meeting of the forum, including Mount Vernon City Council members John Fair, Mike Hillier, Bruce Hawkins and Rebecca Jordan; State Rep. Margaret Ann Ruhl; and Knox County Commissioner Bob Wise.
Having local politicians involved has changed the dynamic of the forum from being an outlet for those who have specific questions to an avenue to find the right answers.
Russ McGibney, founder and moderator of the forum, sees this as an ideal way for constituents and elected officials to create a dialog.
“It’s a great transferal of information both ways,” McGibney said. “The public gets informed on what officials are doing and thinking and the politicians learn what is on the minds of the public. This can help officials make knowledgeable decisions with their constituents in mind.”
Both McGibney and Splain are pleased with the quality discussions that take place during the monthly forums, and continue to extend an invitation to those who have attended in the past and those who are curious as to the process.
“We talk about so many more things than just Mount Vernon subjects,” said McGibney. “We hit on current issues in Mount Vernon, Knox County, the state and federal issues. It’s a good mix, I think.”
News Assistant Publisher Liz Lutwick concurs.
“This forum has certainly developed in the way we hoped,” Lutwick said. “We have more people and public officials attending and contributing to the conversation.”
The May Up for Discussion will take place Monday from 7 to 8:15 p.m. at Sips, 101 S. Main St.