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Local Group to Sponsor Candidate Forums


The Citizens for an Informed Electorate Committee (CIE) will be sponsoring candidate forums prior to the General Election on November 6, 2012. A total of four forums will be held for partisan and non-partisan local offices, and broadcast “live” from Bemidji City Hall on both city cable systems.

On Wednesday, October 17, a non-partisan forum will be held at 6 p.m. for School Board candidates District 31, Bemidji. Seven candidates will be participating. They include Paula DeClusin, Jeff Haack, Dana Kuzel, Ann Long Voelkner, John Pugleasa, John Truedson, and Rob Warmboe.

Tuesday, October 23, hosts candidates vying for County Commissioner District 4. Quentin Fairbanks and Tim Sumner will meet at 6:00 p.m. They will be followed at 7:30 by 9th Judicial District candidates for judge, John Melbye and Diana Sweeney.

On Wednesday, October 24 City Council Ward 1 candidates Derrick Houle and Michael Meehlhaus) and Ward 5 candidates Nancy Erickson and Greg Negard will field questions beginning at 6:00 p.m.. They will be followed at 7:30 by candidates for mayor Rita Albrecht and David Larson.

The only partisan forum will take place on Tuesday, October 30. First up at 6:00 p.m. will be candidates from Senate District 2, Dennis Moser and Rod Skoe vie for the Senate, while Roger Erickson and Dave Hancock compete for state representative. Then at 7:30 Senate District 5 candidates take questions. John Carlson and Tom Saxhaug are running for Senate, while Larry Howes and John Persell fight for the state rep seat.

The forums will allow candidates to make opening and closing statements. Moderators will collect question cards from the audience, screen them for duplication or inappropriateness, and direct them to candidates. The questions should cover the gamut of issues, as the forums are open to the general public. The forums will be broadcast “live” on cable First City TV, and recorded for later streaming on Northern Community Internet, and re-broadcast by Upstream TV.

The CIE formed by volunteers in 2008, seeks to provide an outlet for the public to gain more knowledge about candidates in order to make an informed decision at the polls on November 6. Although two civic groups have sponsored narrowly focused general election forums, no civic group or organization has provided this service for primary elections, or an “open” and broad issue approach for general elections.

Moderators will be Maggie Montgomery, Station Manager at KAXE/KBXE, and John Parsons, independent TV producer and former reporter for Public TV's Lakeland News. The CIE represents a cross section of citizens and media members who want to provide as many opportunities for the public to know their candidates and the issues as possible. Members include Michael Meuers, John Parsons, Dennis Montgomery, Maggie Montgomery, Mike Naylor, Pat Grimes, and Rachelle Houle.

2012 CIE Forums are underwritten by Search Resources, the Long Haul Institute, and .

Please plan on joining us, and share your views with the candidates.

Citizens for an Informed Electorate

Candidate Forum Calendar: General Election 2012,

Bemidji City Hall

General Election Forums:

Date Office Time

Wed, October 17 School Board 6:30 p.m.

Tue, October 23 Cty. Commissioner Dist. 4 6:00 p.m.

Tue, October 23 9th Judicial District 7:30 p.m.

Wed, October 24 City Ward 1 and Ward 5 6:00 p.m.

Wed, October 24 City Mayor 7:30 p.m.

Tue, October 30 Senate District 2 and 2A 6:00 p.m.

Tue, October 30 SenateDistrict 5 and 5A 7:30 p.m.

Forum Rules:

• Any candidate not participating will not preclude any and all others from participating. (there will be an empty chair)

• There will be no props, no signs, no t-shirts. Campaign buttons or name tags are allowed as well as campaign brochures which may be handed out or displayed on a table.

• Each candidate will have a three minute opening and closing.

• Each candidate will have one and a half minutes to answer questions. (Timers will be used)

• Order of speaking for the opening and closing will be decided by lot.

• The moderators willalternate who answers question between the candidates so no candidate need always answer first.

• Questions will come from the audience and written on 3 x 5 cards.

• The moderators will screen questions for appropriateness, duplication, diversity, etc.

• During the event what the moderators decide is law.

• All Un-asked questions will be read at the end of the forum, so that candidates will know the mood of the electorate.


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