Thursday night’s presidential debate isn’t the only important political forum for Owensboro voters.
Before the presidential debate begins at 8 p.m. local time, city voters will have a chance to hear from several Owensboro City Commission candidates during a virtual candidate forum hosted by the H.L. Neblett Community Center.
The 90-minute forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is viewable from a Zoom link that can be found on the Neblett Center’s Facebook page.
Center director Olga McKissic said Monday all of the city commission candidates were invited to participate. Candidates who have confirmed they will attend are Deirdre Carbon, Mark Castlen, Andy Gamblin, Bob Glenn, Walter Lee, Larry Maglinger, Bill Moss, Jared Revett, Jeff Sanford, Jay Velotta, Michael Walker and Gordy Wilcher.
Each candidate will be given three minutes to make an opening statement. After that, the candidates will be asked questions that were submitted by community residents.
People can email their candidate questions to email@example.com. McKissic said the deadline to submit questions is by the close of business on Wednesday.
Moderators Ade Oredein and Larry Owen will review the questions and select which ones to present to the candidates.
With the Neblett Center largely shut down by the pandemic except for its daycare facility, McKissic said the candidate forum is a way the center can remain active in the community.
“It’s part of the service we provide our community,” McKissic said. “It’s important to hear from the candidates, and we are an avenue or conduit where we can make that happen.
“Even with COVID, there are ways we can connect to the community,” McKissic said.
This year’s city commission race includes 16 candidates. McKissic said one of the issues that will be up for discussion will be whether the city should go back to having a city commission primary.
“We feel a primary needs to be in place and reinstated,” McKissic said.
“Another issue we are going to talk about is the continuous flooding in the west end and in the Baptistown area,” McKissic said.
Owen said the forum is a chance for people to hear from candidates this year.
“With the COVID situation the way it is and candidates not able to get out to a live forum, we thought this would be a way” for candidates to discuss community issues, Owen said.
“We have always looked to be a liaison for the community,” Owen said.
The forum ends at 8 p.m., which will be just in time for city residents to switch to the presidential debate, Owen said.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @JamesMayse