Candidate forum set for tonight

Published 7:33 am Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Austin Area League of Women Voters is hosting a forum tonight featuring candidates vying for the mayoral, Ward 3 City Council and District 3 county commissioner seats.

In keeping with League of Women Voters tradition, the forum will feature questions from the audience, presented to candidates through a designated mediator.

Candidates within each race will have the opportunity to answer six of the same questions. Each person will then be given a time limit for each question, which will range from one to three minutes, depending on candidate and public turnout, said Kristine Allas, voter service chair for the Austin Area League of Women Voters.

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Every candidate will have one opportunity to answer the question presented — no rebuttals will be allowed.

The forum is designed to encourage community members to get to know candidates on a face-to-face basis and learn where each candidate stands on issues facing Austin and Mower County.

“That’s what we’re all about as an organization — educating the public,” Allas said. “We want to get the ideas of the candidate out there.”

Though questions are gathered from the audience, Allas said the mediator and others within the organization do screen questions to ensure that basic issues are covered.

“We usually ask about their experience, the reason why they’re running and what they think they could do,” she said.

Allas expects budgets cuts to be the area of prime concern Thursday evening, as it’s an issue currently affecting all areas of city and county government.

In addition to the forum, the organization will also be hosting voter registration booths Thursday, Aug. 12 near the Historical Center stand at the Mower County Fair.

The Austin area League of Women Voters regularly hosts forums in the lead-up to all elections, including primary and school board elections.

The forum will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5 at the Austin City Council Chambers.

District 3 county commissioner candidates

Art Nelson

Loren Bellrichard

Jerry Reinartz

David Hillier, incumbent

Ward 3 City Council candidates

Jeff Bednar

Judy Enright

John P. Martin, incumbent

Mayoral candidates

Marian Clennon

Gordon Anderson

Zeke Dahl

Tom Stiehm, incumbent