Election season ramping up, time to get to know the candidates

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Election season is ramping up and a pair of organizations are gathering the candidates in one place so that voters can hear what they have to say.

The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) is hosting a pair of “Meet the Candidate” nights, both to be held at Western Secondary School. Both will have a similar format, with the 14 councillor candidates to be the focus of the Oct. 3 evening while the four deputy mayor candidates and two mayoral candidates will be the focus Oct. 4.

There will be a meet and greet with the candidates starting at 6 p.m. with introductions to follow at 6:30 p.m. A question and answer period will come after introductions with closing statements to follow. The evenings are scheduled to conclude at 10 p.m. with the same format both nights.

According to ACOC treasurer Chris Gibb, the councillor candidates will each get five questions while deputy mayor candidates will face 5-10 questions. Candidates for mayor will receive 10-15 questions.

A pair of AM800 reporters will moderate the evenings. Teresinha Medeiros will moderate the Oct. 3 evening with the councillor candidates while Patty Handysides will moderate the Oct. 4 evening with the deputy mayor and mayor candidates.

Gibb said it is an “added plus” to be holding the event outside of the core of Amherstburg noting that it “helps remind people and candidates that Amherstburg is a very big township and sometimes the people in the core and our politicians need to be reminded of that. Also, it is good to remember Amherstburg has two high schools, we can sometimes forget about that.” Gibb added: “The location is fully accessible, has plenty of parking, and is a great facility that many residents have never been in.”
It is important for the ACOC to hold such “Meet the Candidate” events, Gibb noted, as decisions made around the council table impact chamber members and the public at large.

“The people who get elected make many decisions that affect the livelihood of our members and an event like this is the best way for our members and the public to get to know their candidates,” said Gibb.

Western Secondary School is located at 5791 North Town Line (County Road 8), but the entrances are off of Concession 6 North.

The Amherstburg Citizens for Responsible Government (ACRG) is also bringing back its own version of a candidates night, with that returning to the AMA Sportsmen Club. That will be held Oct. 11 from 7-10 p.m. with ACRG representatives John McDonald and Beth Hobbs describing it as an informal way to get to know the candidates.

McDonald noted that candidates will be set up in alphabetical order, not in order of the office they are seeking.

“We had an all candidates night at the very same location four years ago,” McDonald stated. “It was very successful. We were very encouraged by that.”

The evening will be apolitical, said McDonald.

“We’re not backing any potential candidate or a political issue,” he stated.

The event, he continued, will be a chance to meet face-to-face with candidates and address the issues and concerns they have. While it will be an informal event, the ACRG is asking that “hometown courtesy” be exercised.

“The idea is to have a free flow of ideas,” McDonald stated, adding the candidates will be able to go “eyeball to eyeball” with people to talk about their issues.

Hobbs added that candidates will be invited to distribute their own literature that night. McDonald pointed out that the “vast majority” of candidates have agreed to come out.

“It’s very informal,” added Hobbs. “It was very successful in 2014 and we’re hoping for the same thing this year.”

The AMA Sportsmen Club is located at 468 Lowes Side Road.

Also, a reminder that the River Town Times will be publishing a special section with the candidates in the Sept. 26 issue. Candidates were sent the same five questions with all five to be published in the Sept. 26 paper for mayor and deputy mayor candidates.

Due to space limitations, three of the five answers for the councillor candidates will be published in the print edition while all five answers will be online at www.rivertowntimes.com.

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