New mayoral forum this week

Published 9:09 pm Monday, September 22, 2008

It has been almost two months since the city of Suffolk has formally heard from its mayoral candidates.

It was back in July that the S.M.A.R.T. Women held its conversation series hosting a roundtable discussion with the six mayoral candidates.

Since that time, volunteers with the League of Women Voters of South Hampton Roads have been busy planning its candidates’ forum.

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Now, their time has come.

The League of Women Voters of South Hampton Roads is hosting a candidates’ forum this Thursday, Sept. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center in North Suffolk.

Beginning at 6 p.m., there will be a welcoming reception where guests can meet, greet and ask questions with the candidates, and the candidates’ forum will begin with all six certified mayoral candidates Andy Damiani, Michael Debranski, Linda Johnson, Roger Leonard, Dwight Nixon and Tom Powell. Unlike the S.M.A.R.T. Women’s Roundtable, write-in candidate Deborah Wahlstrom will also be participating in this forum.

Alice Mountjoy, unit leader for the League of Women Voters said that the focus of the forum will be public policy, local and regional issues impacting Suffolk residents. She also said the LWV found it to be their duty to host an event to better educate Suffolk residents on the issues and the candidates that they will be voting for this November.

“Our mission is to educate citizens and ensure we have an active citizenship and to have people know what the issues are and that they are informed about them,” Mountjoy said. She added it was their goal that voters are educated when the time comes to place their vote in the city’s “historic race.”

“It’s pretty exciting to be a part of this historic process, and to help citizens make up their mind,” she said.

The event is free and open to the public. Mountjoy said she so far estimates that 150 people will be in attendance.

The LWV is still working on the question list, but have gotten ideas from the approximate 100 members of the league, as well as from submissions from local community and civic groups the league solicited specifically for the event.

Mountjoy said that the AARP and the AAU-W were helping partner the event as well.

For more information about the LWV or about the forum, e-mail Mountjoy at