The City of New Bedford Mayor's Youth Council is a great example of the kids in the city and the adults who guide them. They hold debates that are informative.

The civic-minded children of New Bedford held a debate at the Whaling Museum for the adult voters of the city. All 10 candidates for the five at-large seats on the city council showed up to answer the question put to them by the kids and to make their case to the voters.

Most Entertaining: This was a tie between two challengers who have also run before, Michael Janson and Carlos Felix. I found both engaging and interesting. When answering a question about making the city more green, Janson remarked that he was planning on planting a few fruit trees in his yard and then made the true statement that there is little a city councilor can do to make the city green. Felix attacked the Standard-Times and WBSM for not reporting what he and other challengers say during the campaign. He told the kids that if they ever want to run for office they had better start saving their money so they can advertise.

Best Newcomer: This easily goes to Lisa White. She is running on the issue of increasing private homeownership as a tool for community growth and stability. She made the point that as a homeowner, she would never vote to increase taxes and followed it up with an honest look at the audience that told everyone "only a crazy person would vote against their own interests." She struck me as honest and sincere and her slight nervousness as a first-time candidate was endearing.

Best Performance by an Incumbent: I have a tie between Brian Gomes and Ian Abreu for this award. Abreu opened up by announcing his wife had just informed him that his young daughter was watching him on Facebook from home. He had detailed information about projects and initiatives in the city and how he was involved directly in those matters. He came across as confident and informed. Gomes gave the voters of the city just what they have been voting for year after year when they vote him on to the city council. He was passionate and direct. He expressed his love for the city. He talked about his role in public safety and the heartbreak he has seen in the eyes of the parents of kids caught up in the world of gangs and crime. Gomes isn't afraid to mix it up and he looked strong when he was doing it.

Best Pitch to the Voters: Every one of the candidates deserves this award because every one of them made a solid case for one of the five votes each voter has in November.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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