As we near May 16th, the day of primary elections in Philadelphia, mayoral candidates intensify their campaigns to reach the hearts and minds of voters. In a country where ideological and political polarization abound in the media, it is ever more important to facilitate access to information that can be trusted.

Political campaigns have historically relied on a battery of media tactics to communicate their plans, vision, and projects to the public. These have ranged from media announcements in print and television, podcast and radio appearances, digital campaigns on social media, and public acts and meetings where they interface with voters. Amongst all, public forums and debates have proven to be a place for aspiring leaders to encounter one another. 

Addressing voters directly and responding to their questions are basic democratic practices. In the face of growing apathy and distrust in the political system, engaging in dialogue with their opponents in a room full of voters can be an opportunity for aspiring leaders to reach voters they may not otherwise reach. A public forum is also an opportunity for candidates to address delicate topics; to learn from one another; Latino-dominant should be hyphenated.

It’s an adjective, to refine their positions so that they are better prepared to make sensible decisions should they be elected to lead.

For the voter, public forums and debates are opportunities to gain more nuanced understandings of the differences between candidates, their visions, positions, and political affiliations. Often, debates move candidates to grant voters more detailed information about where they stand on a given issue. Moreover, a public forum offers space for candidates to make commitments, and once made, their promises must be kept. A public record therefore offers the possibility for accountability.

Debates and forums are often the only space where candidates of rival parties can encounter one another in the same place and under the same conditions. Here, they are obligated to face their opponents in dialogue, showing voters that they possess the capacity to hold opposing ideas and divergent propositions in a constructive manner.

Political forums indicate political maturity. By participating, candidates are making a public commitment to respect the results of the election and abide by a system of shared rules to avoid conflict following the election, as occurred during our last presidential election.

In this special edition, leading up to our Latino Mayoral Forum: “Filadelfia Decide” on April 10th, Impacto presents the responses of mayoral candidates who have agreed to participate. This issue aims to resource voters with the information to elect a candidate whom, in their judgment, can be trusted to lead. 

The forum will be broadcast online in real-time and with simultaneous translation.

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order throughout this edition


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