What are you doing Monday night?

If you’re a Killeen resident, you might want to spend the evening hearing what your future municipal leaders have to say about their plans for the city — and for your tax money.

The Killeen Daily Herald will host a political forum on Monday, featuring candidates for Killeen mayor and three at-large council seats in the May 7 election.

The free event is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, 3601 S. W.S. Young Drive. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

It promises to be an interesting and informative evening.

The debate will be split into two portions, with mayoral candidates answering questions first, followed by the council candidates.

The Herald’s moderators plan to ask questions on topics important to the community, in areas such as the managing the budget, communication with the public and the city’s crime rate.

In addition, the Herald will ask the candidates questions submitted by readers via email.

To submit a question for consideration, send your question to news@kdhnews.com. Please put #kdhpolitics on the subject line.

Of course, candidates will state their qualifications for office and explain their priorities, if elected — an important part of the selection process.

But how the candidates respond to the tougher questions may provide even better insight on who is best qualified to lead the city into the future.

How do the candidates see their prospective roles as part of the city government?

How do the candidates view their responsibility to the taxpayer?

How well will these prospective officer-holders relate to residents on issues of interest to the community?

In addition, residents need to know how their future elected officials plan to go about filling the top administrative position — the city manager’s post — on a permanent basis, in the wake of Glenn Morrison’s recent retirement.

In an online poll last week, Herald readers were asked whether the council should try to fill the job within the next six months.

As of midafternoon Friday, nearly 59 percent of respondents said the council should try to hire a new city manager within six months; about 27 percent said the hiring process should play itself out, regardless of the time frame.

That’s a pretty clear divide, but what about the opinions of those in line to be part of the selection process?

Not only is it important to know where the candidates come down on a variety of city issues, but it’s even more important to hear those views in the candidates’ own words.

It’s also crucial to hear how the candidates address the questions in a side-by-side format, in which residents can better draw distinctions between the people seeking their vote.

Ultimately, the people elected to serve as mayor and council members are working for you, the voter. They’re asking for your endorsement for a job that will shape your community, impact your quality of life and spend your tax money.

Consider Monday night’s debate as part of the hiring process — and vote accordingly.

For those unable to attend the Herald’s debate Monday, a video of the entire proceedings will be available online at kdhnews.com/centerforpolitics within 24 hours of the event.

Also at that site, the Herald will offer a host of election-related information — including candidate Q&As, biographical information and candidate videos.

Finally, the Herald will offer a special election package in the April 24 edition — the day before the start of early voting.

An informed electorate is crucial to a healthy democracy.

As such, the Herald is committed to providing the best information possible — and this week’s Killeen candidate forum is part of that commitment.

We hope to see you Monday night.

Contact Dave Miller at dmiller@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7543

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