The Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce is giving the public a chance to hear directly from local candidates running in the upcoming municipal election.
The Chamber will host a candidates' forum and mayoral debate on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Townshend Theatre.
“It's important for the candidates to be able to address the town and what they see are issues facing the town,” said Chamber past president Cathy Emes, lead organizer of the event.
It's also valuable for residents to have a chance to meet the candidates and help them make a decision who to vote for, she noted.
“And it's important to the Chamber because there are issues facing the town that the Chamber is interested in, and we are interested to know what the candidates think of those issues,” Emes added.
The format of the event will be a bit different than in the past.
The eight individuals running for the six councillor seats—Michael Behan, Wendy Brunetta, Clinton Gray, Andrew Hallikas, Harold Huntley, Douglas Judson, John McTaggart, and Rick Wiedenhoeft (alphabetical order)—each will be given three minutes to talk about why they decided to run for council and what they will bring to the table if elected.
After that, the two mayoral candidates—June Caul and Ken Perry (alphabetical order)—will have a debate.
The Chamber will pose a series of questions to the two mayoral candidates regarding local issues.
“We'll give them a chance to outline what they feel is important or what they see as issues or problems, and if they can, what they hope to see as the solutions,” Emes explained.
She noted the Chamber executive has been coming up with questions to ask the mayoral candidates, particularly ones that pertain to the Chamber, its members, and local business in general.
But she added the Chamber executive also would like to know what issues are important to local residents and, subsequently, what Caul and Perry have to say about them.
As such, the public is invited to submit questions for the mayoral candidates to the Chamber at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of these questions then may be posed to Caul and Perry at the debate.
Emes said the Townshend Theatre is a new, larger venue for such an event, with seating for about 430 people.
She added the 2014 candidates' forum held at the arena auditorium was “so overcrowded,” and the Chamber was glad to be able to book a more spacious venue so more people would be able to attend and hear what the candidates have to say.