To the editor:

Our community is bursting with information about the upcoming election for the mayor of Auburn, whether it be through letters to the editor, social media or direct contact with the candidates. I have been following both candidates on social media, have read multiple letters to the editor, and have also had the opportunity to listen to Sarah Payne answer some hard questions at a neighborhood house party that I was invited to. To be fair, I have not had the opportunity to listen to Mike Ley or hear how he would respond to those very same questions and that is exactly my reason for this letter.

I have heard that Mike Ley will not participate in any sort of debate with Sarah Payne. The Chamber originally announced that they were going to be hosting a debate between the candidates but now that same event has turned into a “Meet & Greet” where each candidate will give a 10-minute speech. While I appreciate the opportunity to hear both candidates speak, I think that having the opportunity for us to ask each candidate the same questions on stage allows for us to hear all the answers to the questions. Voters need an opportunity to see what differentiates the candidates. I feel that would be a great opportunity for both candidates as well as voters to see in person what each candidate has to offer and the knowledge they bring us to lead and guide Auburn.

I do not consider myself bound to one party and actually just voted for the first time in 2018. I want to vote for the best person for the job. The divisiveness I hear from individuals devoted to a party is disappointing. This is why I have not voted before. I have read several comments about party that are concerning to me. There was a comment on Facebook directed to Sarah Payne that said, “Sorry run as Republican next time and I will vote for you,” another said, “If party doesn’t matter as Sarah is implying then it would be easier for her to run as Republican.” People want transparency, but then prefer Sarah to say her views are Republican in order to obtain their vote — isn’t that hypocritical?

I am puzzled as to why we would not strive for the most qualified candidate to lead Auburn regardless of party, which is why I am asking for an open session. We, the citizens of Auburn, should have the opportunity to ask questions in an open environment and hear the responses from our two candidates for the mayor of Auburn.

Kim Schenk

Auburn

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