City Commission Candidate Forum
Voting is one important way to have your voice heard, but a local organization is suggesting that before you speak out at the polls, you should listen.
An event in Gainesville today gave residents an up close look at their options.
About 60 people attended the forum this afternoon, which was hosted by the Alachua County League of Women Voters.
Almost all of the City Commission candidates from Districts II, III and Seat II At Large were there to talk about the issues that matter to city residents.
Vice President of the Alachua County League of Women Voters Kathy Kidder said, "There's a lot of excitement in this race this year."
Three seats are up for election on Gainesville's City Commission, but there are quite a few people hoping to fill them. Most of those candidates gave their positions today on hot topics like the fire assessment fee, biomass plant, law enforcement consolidation and education during a question and answer session.
But attendees were paying attention to more than just sound bites. Sidney Homan said, "It's not simply what they say about the issues although that's the central thing...it's how they say it, what they look like as they're saying it."
Kidder said the turn out at today's forum is an indicator that people are very engaged with this election. She said, "There's a broad range of candidates who's gotten interested in running and that probably means there are people out there in the community that are paying attention and i think somebody noticed that 15 percent of the voters put in, sometimes elect our officials."
The league of women voters is a non-partisan organization that wants to change the statistic of low voter turnout in the area. And all the efforts seem to be working. Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter said the city has about 1200 more voters this year, than at this time last year. Carpenter said, "There are a lot of forums and a lot of interest from the public, so I take that to be a really good sign on what we're going to expect on election day."
Kidder said knowing the facts on issues before voting is critical and that forums like this give the perfect opportunity to see who really represents your values. She said, "I hear a lot of good discussion."
Former mayor David Flagg said this type of direct interaction and of course voting, are cornerstones of local government. Flagg said, "So if you're not involved with politics by voting, you're not involved in managing your own community and the outcomes you're going to have to be dealing with every day."
The Supervisor of Election offices will be open from 8 AM to 5 PM to accept voter registration applications, with a drop box open until midnight on the 14th. For more information visit http://elections.alachua.fl.us/.
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