An invitation has been extended to each candidate running for a seat on Charlotte’s City Council to attend a candidate forum on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. in the lower level of the Courthouse Museum. The forum is an opportunity for candidates to present themselves and their stance on local issues to local voters.
Organized by former Charlotte High School teacher, Ben Phlegar, the forum has been designed more as a meet and greet than a debate. Each candidate will be given five minutes for opening statements, followed by questions from the audience. Once all candidates in a particular race have finished, each will have an additional two minutes for closing statements.
The forum will be moderated by Travis Silvas of The County Journal.
The forum will begin with City Council District 1, which features Bill Mitchell running unopposed. It will proceed with District 2 candidate, Anthony Russo, who is running unopposed for the four-year term. Also in District 2, incumbent Brad Johnston and challenger James Wyszysnki III square off for the remaining two years of a four-year term vacated in the spring of 2015. Johnston was appointed to fill the seat until the November election. The forum then shifts to Council At Large, featuring candidates Branden Dyer and Chris Bahmer. The forum will conclude with the mayoral race and candidates Joe Daly, Tim Lewis, Yvonne Ridge and Zachary Story.
Phlegar said he used to invite local candidates into his classroom at Charlotte High School to share their reasons for running for office. This opportunity is an extension of what he did as a teacher and put this together with the goal of informing and involving the community in local government.
“I don’t believe there was such an event two years ago and I didn’t want another election cycle go by without the public having an opportunity to meet the candidates and ask questions about the race,” Phlegar stated.