By Michael J. Billoni
Senior Contributing Writer
All the candidates for office in the Town of Grand Island, who are on the Nov. 7 general election ballot, have accepted an invitation to participate in the inaugural candidates forum. This event is presented by the town’s Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary and Zonta civic clubs, along with the Chamber of Commerce, and assisted by students from Grand Island High School. The forum is set for 6:30-9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in the William Kaegebein School auditorium at 1690 Love Road. It is free and open to the public.
John DiScuillo, a member of the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the executive director of production and promotion at WBBZ-TV, will serve as moderator.
This is not a League of Women Voters-sanctioned event, but most of its rules were followed. This is not a debate, either; rather, the public has submitted questions.
The committee is still accepting questions at https://form.jotform.com/232684102299055.
A representative from each organization will review the questions and determine which will be presented to the candidates. The moderator will read the question, which will be confined to issues, not personalities. The questions will not be directed to a specific candidate, but will be presented to each candidate to answer. Each candidate will be offered 2 minutes to respond. There will be no rebuttal. The timekeeper, who will be a GIHS student, will advise the candidate at one minute, 30 seconds and 10 seconds.
Erik Fiebelkorn, president of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, said a primary mission objective of his organization is “to work towards creating an environment in which businesses can prosper and then promote those local entities to the fullest.
“Working with our local government agencies and elected officials – including holding them accountable for results – is something the Chamber consistently works towards. We believe events like this candidate forum greatly benefit our local businesses and residents alike in learning what candidates are committed to accomplishing and hearing how they intend to do so.”
Rotary Club of Grand Island President Sherry Miller and President-Elect Faye Teluk added, “Our members proudly support our participation in the candidate forum and to collaborate with the town’s other civic groups. In this age of political and global conflict, it is an opportunity to come together to hear our candidates. We encourage everyone to exercise their individual civic duty to vote.”
Lion Paul Bassette said, “The Grand Island Lions Club is privileged and honored to assist in the development of questions to ask the candidates running for Grand Island public office. This should result in a more informed voting public on who can best serve Grand Island.”
“Zonta is part of a global network of women who are committed to service and advocacy,” member Ricki Harper explained. “We work together to meet common goals for the advancement of women – legally, politically, socially and economically. We are excited to partner with other Grand Island service organizations in hosting this candidate forum.”
Kiwanian Heather Hill said, "The Kiwanis Club of Grand Island is happy to be working with the other GI civic organizations and the GI Chamber to assist our neighbors in learning about our GI candidates in this year’s election through the candidates forum. We are one Island, and working together as a team makes Grand Island the best place to live.”