UPDATE: The forum for Killeen ISD school board candidates set for Monday, March 16, has been canceled, and will be rescheduled at a later date.

The Texas primary election is over and Super Tuesday has passed.

Now it’s time for Killeen-area residents to turn their attention to the municipal and school board elections coming up on May 2.

As with all elections, becoming informed will involve doing some homework.

The Killeen Daily Herald will help prospective voters get familiar with the candidates and their stands on the issues with a pair of candidate forums.

The first forum will take place on Monday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center and will feature candidates for the Killeen City Council.

The second forum, featuring candidates for the Killeen school board, will be held March 16, also at the conference center.

The Killeen council race has a large field of office-seekers, with 13 candidates running for three at-large seats.

With so many people running, it’s important to hear what each candidate views as the city’s priorities, as well as to compare how each would address the challenges facing the city.

That’s why the Herald is having its forum early in the campaign: To help acquaint readers with the people who are seeking their vote — and asking to manage their tax money.

Almost all the candidates running for a council seat have indicated that they plan to attend Monday’s forum, which is a plus for prospective voters.

Each candidate will be afforded the opportunity to give a 1-minute opening statement, as well as closing remarks, which may help forum attendees to discern what the office seekers consider to be the most important issues facing the city.

The forum’s moderators will ask the candidates several questions on topics of interest: Developer impact fees, crime, budget priorities, and city services.

Candidates will be seated alphabetically, in two groups, with each group getting a slightly different question on the same topic. This will both help avoid repetition and add a different perspective to each topic.

Even with the varied questions, forum attendees will have the opportunity to hear the council hopefuls go head-to-head on each issue.

As city officials continue to deal with challenges in these areas, it’s crucial that residents learn how the candidates propose to address them and move the city forward.

The issues candidates will address Monday night are important to residents citywide.

Their responses will not only provide insight into what kind of action they would take individually but also how they would work with other council members and the city manager.

Residents who attend are encouraged to listen carefully and take notes if necessary. With a field of candidates this large, it’s important to note how each question is answered — and by whom.

This is especially important this year, as only one candidate is an incumbent council member.

That means two of the three people elected on May 2 will be new to the council — though two other candidates have served previously.

Once elected, the new council members will be making decisions that impact our daily life: determining the level of funding for city programs and services; making additions or changes to the city’s fee structure; determining the direction of residential and commercial growth; setting the city’s property tax rate; and approving the annual budget.

In short, we will be handing council members our tax money and authorizing them to decide how best to spend it.

That’s a big responsibility — for both the candidates and for the voters.

With that in mind, Monday’s candidate forum is designed to help residents make an informed choice when it comes time to vote for those we will trust to set policy, enact ordinances and serve as stewards of our municipal tax dollars.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. and doors to the conference center open at 6 p.m. Admission to the 90-minute event is free.

For those unable to attend, the forum will be broadcast in its entirety on Facebook Live.

During the campaign, the Herald will provide continuing election coverage, with regular articles addressing issues of interest to the community and asking the candidates their views in these areas.

Over the coming weeks, video interviews with the candidates will be posted on kdhnews.com/centerforpolitics. The Herald will also produce an election guide, to print April 19.

Early voting in the May 2 election begins April 20 — just six weeks away.

That’s why getting an early jump on this election is so important. And Monday’s forum is designed to help Killeen residents do just that.

We hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity and join us Monday night for what we believe will be an informative discussion of the issues.

The best time to start doing your election homework is now.

dmiller@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7543

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