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Candidate forum looks to be full house
Oct 20, 2012 12:00 am
A candidate forum, sponsored by The Lebanon Democrat and Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, is getting a strong response from local candidates.
Set for Monday at 6 p.m. at Lebanon High School auditorium, all candidates from Lebanon and Watertown are invited to participate and most have agreed to attend. The forum is designed to give voters a chance to meet the candidates face to face.
"All the candidates we've contacted have said they will be there," said Chamber President Sue Vanatta.
Chris Crowell, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will moderate the debate. This is not his first time riding herd on politicians. He also moderated the debate between the candidates for county mayor in 2010.
He said it is a delicate balance between keeping the candidates on track time-wise and making sure they get a chance to relate their ideas.
"There is a difference between a candidate taking five or 10 seconds to complete a thought and them taking an extra 30 seconds to a minute," he said. "These days people have such busy schedules they don't have time for events to run over, and if every candidate runs over it could add an extra 30 minutes to the event."
Crowell also expects candidates to face a wide range of questions.
"The questions will come from chamber members," he said. "They have been contacted and asked to return questions about things that most concern them."
In addition, voters are asked to submit questions via The Democrat's Facebook page or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The forum will offer voters a chance to "meet and greet" candidates from 6-6:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the Lebanon City Council candidates will have a formal introduction time before moving into a question-and-answer session.
The contest for the spot on the Lebanon Special School District Board will once again pit challenger Johnie Payton against incumbent Steve Jones. Payton won by a single vote in the August primary, but Jones successfully moved to have the results overturned. The forum will offer these two candidates a chance to meet voters before their November rematch. The pair will also have a meet-and-greet followed by a question-and-answer session.
This session will be followed by the three candidates vying to be the mayor of Lebanon with Philip Craighead, Bob O'Brien and David Kievernagel introducing themselves before going into a debate-style format.
O'Brien has a notion of what questions are likely to be addressed as he faces his two opponents.
"Leadership, fiscal responsibility, deficit spending, the Cumberland Center, the sales tax issue," he listed as expected topics. "I would also expect questions about growth and job creation, as well as quality-of-life issues."
Kievernagel said he expects debate topics to run the gamut.
"Anything and everything that's going on with the city," he said.
Craighead said he was excited about he and his competitors getting to air their views in an open debate.
"I'm more than looking forward to it," he said.
The Mt. Juliet News will play host to a forum of its own for mayoral, and city and county commission candidates in Mt. Juliet on Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Mt. Juliet City Hall.
The forum will allow Mt. Juliet candidates running for office to answer questions on a variety of issues facing Mt. Juliet and the county.
Invited to participate are incumbent Mayor Ed Hagerty and his challengers Jamie Luffman and current District 4 city commissioner and county commissioner Jim Bradshaw. District 2 county commissioner candidates Terry Duncan and Richard Moses have also been invited, as well as city commission District 2 candidates Jonathan Brydalski and Robert MacClary. Current District 3 Commissioner Art Giles is being challenged by Britt Linville and they have also been asked to participate.
There will be pre-set questions, as well as questions unveiled during the forum. The audience will also have an opportunity to ask questions. Mt. Juliet News Managing Editor Laurie Everett said the city of Mt. Juliet has graciously agreed to provide the venue and technical expertise in order to stream the forum live and on Channel 3.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 45 or email@example.com.