Thumbs Up/Down

Empty chairs

THUMBS DOWN: There have not been many candidate debates in this primary campaign season. When they do happen, one would hope the candidates would make an effort to be there.

So it was a bit discouraging to see only three of the five candidates for governor at the forum held Thursday in Mankato, sponsored by the Greater MN Partnership, Greater Mankato Growth and the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. DFL candidate Lori Swanson canceled at the last minute due to a family emergency, organizers said. But former Gov. Tim Pawlenty did not accept the invitation to appear and debate with his fellow candidates.

All the candidates have agreed to appear at the candidate forum during Farmfest, Aug. 7-9 at Gilfillan Estate near Morgan.

Kudos to DFLers Tim Walz and Erin Murphy and Republican Jeff Johnson for making it to Mankato on Thursday. People should have a chance to compare the candidates before going to the polls on Aug. 14.

National Night Out

THUMBS UP: Monday evening New Ulm is celebrating National Night Out, an annual celebration that aims to fight crime by helping people connect with their neighbors and get to know their police, fire and first responders better.

Close communities are safer communities when neighbors look out for each other and are willing to report something unusual or suspicious to their local law enforcement. If everybody is looking out for everybody else, it makes it harder for criminals to operate.

We hope people will take the opportunity to go to German Park from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., have some fun, listen to some good music and get to know each other a little better.

Relay for Life

THUMBS UP: By the time you read this the Brown County Relay for Life will be all wrapped up for another year. The teams who spent all of last night out at the Brown County Fairgrounds will be home getting some well-earned sleep. But the good they do will go on and on. Tens of thousands of dollars will have been raised for the American Cancer Society. Since 1996 over $2.1 million has been raised locally for the fight against cancer. This year’s relay, if past history is any indication, will raise well over $100,000.

Congratulations to all who participated by joining teams, and for those who supported them financially