by Larry Austin
Island political committee chairs say an educated voter is their best constituent.
In advance of Election Day in November, the chairs of Grand Island's political committees have agreed to join in holding a "Meet the Candidates Night" on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. at Bible Presbyterian Church's Family Life Center, 1780 Love Road.
Dr. Kevin Backus, chair of the Grand Island Conservative Committee, said all the candidates for town offices in the upcoming general election have agreed to attend the informational forum, which the League of Women Voters will moderate. The audience is encouraged to submit questions to candidates at the event.
Partisanship has taken a back seat to partnership in continuing the trend of holding educational forums leading up to Island elections, committee chairs said.
"This is a delight. Grand Island is a different kind of community," said Backus.
"I put the emphasis on community. We care about the town and what's in the best interest of the town, and I think that everybody who is running for office generally thinks the same thing," Backus said. "I think we all believe that giving the voters an opportunity to become better acquainted with the people running for office will help them make the best choices possible."
"We hope for a large turnout," said Tom Clabeaux, chair of the Independence Committee, "because the worst thing you could be is uninformed."
The event is free and will run about an hour and a half, Backus said.
"The candidates generally make themselves available after the question and answer period just to be able to meet and greet the people," Backus added.
The Family Life Center is becoming a favorite host of election forums on the Island, having hosted several popular editions of "Meet the Candidates Night" and a spirited public debate last September between Town Board downsizing proponent Kevin Gaughan and members of the Grand Island town government.