The Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce is gearing up to host a candidate forum for those municipal-government hopefuls on the ballot in November.
“It’s such a big city-election year,” Tim Holder, interim chairman of the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee, said Wednesday.
Holder, who will be serving as emcee, hopes to have a large crowd in attendance for the event — which is both free and open to the public — so voters can truly understand the issues, as well as the platforms of each candidate.
“We feel it’s our responsibility to provide this service to the public at large,” Chamber President Ken Kindley said.
With the Chamber a nonpartisan organization, Holder noted that conducting such a forum was an “easy role” for it to fill.
Kindley added that while the Chamber may take a stance on a community issue, particularly those that impact local businesses and industries, it never endorses a candidate at any level.
He is encouraging people who live outside of Lincolnton city limits to also attend, since issues of the city can impact those of Lincoln County.
Planning for the event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Lincoln Cultural Center, has been a two-month process. It will follow a similar format as in past years, with each candidate given time for an opening statement and then taking turns answering a set of five prepared questions.
Three minutes will be allowed for each response.
Candidates will not have any advance knowledge of the questions, which have been approved by the Governmental Affairs Committee following some input from other Chamber members.
For those who “absolutely can’t come,” Charter Media will be recording and eventually broadcasting the forum, Kindley said.
That way, even for those unable to attend, the event provides people with the advantage of seeing what candidates have to say before heading to the polls, he added.