Kister puts forum online
by Anna Starzyk
THE POST; January 21, 2000
Democratic candidate Chad Kister is not settling for a low-tech campaign strategy.
In an attempt to get more people involved in the Athens County Commissioners
election race, Kister has launched an online forum for citizens to post their opinions.
Kister, who is running for commissioner, is a local environmentalist and
coordinator of Dysart Defenders. He will face incumbent Commissioner Bill Theisen
and Nelsonville business owner Carolyn Fisk in the March primary.
At a news conference Wednesday, Kister said his Web site is the first interactive
site any county commissioner candidate has had.
The Web site, which can be reached by following the "Kister 2000" link
www.chadkister.com, allows citizens to give input on what issues they feel are
important, as well as any ideas about how the county should be managed.
Kister said he will post all questions and comments on his site, as long
as they are
not false and do not contain profanity. He also will post his own responses.
"People can get my ideas, and they can really question and quiz me about
they want," he said.
Fisk said she thinks Kister's Web site is an excellent idea and added she
will launch a similar site if elected.
Political officials should make it as easy as possible for citizens to
opinions and get information.
"Public officials are servants of the public. That's what they're here for," Fisk said.
Kister said he feels students often feel left out of the race, and his
Web site will be a
convenient way for them to get involved, despite their hectic lives.
"I hope to create just a real interactive forum where people can get their
about the commissioner race from the comfort of their own home," he said.
Theisen said Kister's Web site is a good idea because it could make it
some citizens to be heard.
"I think that's a wonderful opportunity for people to express themselves," he said.
But Theisen said electronic communication is not available to the majority
in the county, many of whom live in poverty and do not own a computer.
He said he prefers to have instant communication with the public, either
phone or face to face. "I like to talk one on one with people who have concerns,"
But Kister said everyone will be able to voice their opinions, whether
they have a
computer or not.
"Even if people don't have Internet access, they can call me and I'll type
question on the Web page," Kister said. "It's important that people who don't have
computers should be able to be involved too."
Kister also plans to publish county documents on his Web site to make them
accessible to the public. He started Wednesday by posting the county budget.
Theisen agreed this might make it more convenient for some people to find
records, but commissioners are always willing to help people find documents and
answer any questions.
If elected, Kister said he plans to keep the site updated and continue
citizens' concerns about the county.
"I'm trying to bring the county into the 21st century," he said.