Candidate forum set tonight

Published 10:22 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A series of candidate forums planned in Suffolk prior to the election will kick off Thursday night at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center on Constance Road.

The Suffolk Mayoral and City Council Forum will be hosted by the Suffolk Board of Directors of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

It is the first of at least four such forums planned in the coming weeks. A fifth, which had been planned by the Suffolk News-Herald for Oct. 16, has been canceled in light of the other election-related events taking place during the next couple of weeks.

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“When we began planning our mayoral forum, we did not realize there would be so many other opportunities for Suffolk voters to engage with the candidates,” News-Herald Editor Res Spears said.

“In light of those other local forums and our event’s conflict with the second presidential debate that same night, we decided our forum could be a distraction, rather than a benefit for local voters.”

In addition to its planned coverage of the mayoral, City Council and School Board races prior to the election, the News-Herald also will be engaging readers through its social media and opinion pages in the weeks to come, Spears said.

During the Chamber debate, each candidate will be given three minutes to make opening remarks on why they are running for office and their goals and visions for the future of Suffolk.

Each candidate will be asked several questions from a set of questions developed by members of the Suffolk Division of the Chamber.

These questions will be randomly decided prior to the forum, and the moderator will give each candidate up to two minutes to address.

Each candidate will be given two minutes to answer a question that will be developed specifically for each candidate with respect to his or her previous positions or statements made during the campaign.

Each candidate will be provided one minute to provide summary or wrap-up comments on their campaign.

The forum is free and open to the public.

Other forums planned by the following organizations are:

  • Education Association of Suffolk, Oct. 18, 7 p.m., King’s Fork High School Black Box Theater
  • NAACP, Oct. 20, 10 a.m., East Suffolk Recreation Center, breakfast with a $20 donation
  • Hampton Roads Tea Party, Oct. 25, 7 p.m., Nansemond River High School auditorium