The League of Women Voters will be hosting a municipal candidate forum tonight to get a little more understanding of those running for office.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with a half hour of refreshments and meet-and-greet before the regular forum begins at 7 p.m. in the City Assembly Chambers.
Cheryl Jebe will serve as the forum moderator and ask League-prepared questions to start off. Audience members will be given pens and index cards to write their own questions, and many may be asked of the candidates.
Judy Andree, chapter president, said the two school board candidates will likely go first, since there are only two candidates for two open seats. Assembly candidates will be up next, with six candidates running for three open seats.
Andree said one of the forum’s goals is let League members and any interested citizens learn more about the candidates.
“It’s always nice to see how they react to each other, react to the questions,” Andree said. “You get a sense of how they would be in office. I know myself, I have gone into a forum thinking I would vote one way and came out having changed my mind. The value is to try to present intelligent, thought-provoking questions and have them respond to that. It’s sort of a form of participatory democracy. Voters are the ones who have to make the decisions and they have to have as much information as they possibly can get. We’re trying to actively encourage high turnouts for all elections, not just municipal. It’s important for people to get out and vote.”
Andree said it’s important to vote because citizens will be deciding the direction of the city. Voter turnout is typically low in election seasons without national candidates on the ballot.
Andree said the League will likely ask the candidates about two of the five ballot measures — one being the city asking voters to allow them to opt-out of Alaska Public Office Commission’s state rules on public official financial disclosures (how much personal financial information official’s must file), and the citizen initiative to establish a 15-cent plastic bag tax.
Andree urges voters to look at the city-generated mailed pamphlet and the Juneau Empire’s Voters Guide (which comes out Sunday) for more information on the upcoming election.
• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at email@example.com.