Cass County should consider itself lucky.
There are a lot of newspapers serving this rural community.
Sure, circulation challenges, coupled with the world of online news, seem to constantly put a dent in our readership.
But good community journalism will always win out. I believe that with all my heart.
Take this week, for example.
On July 29, more than 140 concerned Cass County voters packed into a few rooms at the Harrisonville Community Center to hear the views and voices of seven candidates for four county offices: Auditor, Circuit Clerk, Division 3 Judge and Presiding Commissioner.
The great part of the Democratic election process is that we have the right and privilege to vote on officials that represent us locally and nationally.
What enhances that part of the process is when candidates are able to gather in a time-honored tradition of a political forum.
I’ve covered, organized and moderated enough of these to know that each one comes with its own set of victories and challenges. Some candidates leave an impression. Others simply strive to stay afloat.
Many, though, just don’t show up at all.
Our candidates in the contested county races Aug. 5, Ron John and Ryan Wescoat (Auditor), Stacey Lett and Meryl Lange (Judge) and Jeff Cox and Dave Morris (Commissioner) joined Kim York (Circuit Clerk), who is running unopposed now with the resignation of Amy Bell.
Like any good political forum, we all laughed a little, cringed when candidates got a little personal and, certainly, walked away from the night with more insight than we came in with.
These are the tenets of an informed and engaged electorate. And that the county newspaper got to bring that to the voters is something special indeed.
While names and faces come and go from the Cass County Democrat Missourian, the mission of community journalism doesn’t change. It cannot be allowed to change.
For more than 134 years, this newspaper has delivered information about Cass County to the people of Cass County.
I am proud to have been but a small part of that history.
Keep the forums alive. Keep communication alive. Keep advocacy alive. And, I can only hope, the newspaper will always be a part of that public discussion.