Now that the election is over, this newspaper is no longer overflowing with letters to the editor.

But we hope the conversation continues.

Prior to the election, letters to the editor, along with the debates sponsored by this newspaper in Noble, DeKalb and Steuben counties, hundreds of door step conversations and group discussions put important issues front and center.

Leaders are only as good as their openness to ideas from — and discussion with — people of all ages and all walks of life.

Hard-fought races in northeast Indiana produced a lot of positives: chief among them, discussion.

Mike Ley, who will take office Jan. 1, replacing Norm Yoder, who is retiring after 20 years as Auburn’s mayor, said Tuesday night he believes with God’s guidance “and our prayerful consideration as a community ... we can’t go wrong.”

His opponent, Sarah Payne, said “we sparked a conversation that we hadn’t had in a long time ... we engaged more people than we had in a long time, and all of that, for me, is really inspiring.”

Re-elected to her fifth term, Kendallville Mayor Suzanne Handshoe said she knocked on more than 1,000 doors this campaign.

Also re-elected to his fifth term, Angola Mayor Dick Hickman emphasized that he is “no better than any other employee, no more important than any other employee in this community; we are a team.”

Each of us has an important role on our community’s team.

As Ley’s opponent, Democratic candidate Sarah Payne said, “Hopefully, we can keep those conversations happening, keep the openness in our community.”

We hope letters to the editor with constructive criticism, new ideas and dreams for the future continue. We hope face-to-face discussion and involvement continue.

We congratulate the winners and thank each person who ran for office. Being a candidate requires energy, courage and commitment. It is no easy job to run for office or to be an office holder.

Contested races are vital to conversation and to our future.

OUR VIEW is written on a rotating basis by Grace Housholder, Dave Kurtz, Michael Marturello and Steve Garbacz. We welcome readers’ comments.

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