This past week, the Pittsburg Area Young Professionals co-hosted, along with the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and The Morning Sun, a series of candidate forums for the area school board and city commission.

This past week, the Pittsburg Area Young Professionals co-hosted, along with the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and The Morning Sun, a series of candidate forums for the area school board and city commission.  The Pittsburg Young Professionals, or PAYP, is dedicated to improving our community by attracting, empowering and retaining young professionals in the city of Pittsburg and the surrounding area.  PAYP is currently comprised of approximately 140 members predominately between the ages of 21 and 40 who represent more than 50 community businesses in a variety of professions. They are enthused members of this community committed to the continued progress of our area of Kansas.
These forums were an incredible opportunity for our members to be involved directly in the civic life of our community.  They allowed us, along with the other citizens of Frontenac and Pittsburg, a chance to hear how these candidates plan to lead and the impact of the offices they seek upon our daily lives.  As young professionals, like all citizens, we are very concerned about the issues, big and small, that affect our quality of life here in Southeast Kansas. We recognize the current economic problems facing our community and want to encourage support for current local businesses as well as the recruitment and growth of new business and industry.  We strongly believe that it is essential for the future of our area to attract new families, retain the families already here, foster a stronger local economy, and encourage civic engagement for a greater sense of community.  We are also very concerned about those younger members of our community, those who do not yet have a voice, and desire to ensure that they have the same, or better, quality of life and educational opportunities as we did.
While it is the position of Pittsburg Area Young Professionals not to endorse any candidate; this was an opportunity for us, and you, to hear what these candidates offer.  On behalf of our entire membership and the Board of Directors I wish to thank each of those who are striving to make this community a better place through largely thankless service.  We also thank those who came out to hear what each of these candidates had to say.  I truly hope you learned about these candidates and the time and passion needed for each of these positions.
On behalf of the Pittsburg Area Young Professionals, we sincerely wish each of the candidates the best of luck in the April 7th election.  We also encourage YOU the community to come out and show your support for this great community by casting your vote in the city council and school board elections.  Together we can make a difference.
A Special Thank You to Blake Benson & The Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Stephen Wade of The Morning Sun for inviting The Pittsburg Area Young Professionals to partner with them to sponsor and host these candidate forums.

Geoffrey Hines is president of the Pittsburg Area Young Professionals.