Candidates forum helps inform voters

Candidates for a variety of local offices had the chance to tell voters what they stand for during a forum Wednesday afternoon.

Approximately 150 people attended the lunch-hour forum, though a substantial number had to return to work before it was over. There were so many candidates to question that it took about two hours to get to all 18 of them.

"I thought it was wonderful. I really feel I got to know these people," said Kathy Peterson, commercial lending officer at Colonial Bank. She had to leave a little early. "This really makes people more confident in who they vote for."

"I thought it was a good event. It was nice to see the candidates in person and actually hear them speak," said longtime Carson City resident Kim Angelo. Her husband, Art, is a chamber member. They were able to stay until the end. "It gave me some options and things to think about."

Virtually all of the candidates for Carson City Board of Supervisors, wards 1 and 3; justice of the peace, district 1; district attorney; and school trustees, districts 3, 4 and 6, participated.

Ward 3 supervisor candidate Neil Weaver, chairman of the city's airport authority left before the supervisorial candidates' section when he learned about an accident at the airport.

State Assembly District 40 candidates also participated.

Though the event was organized by the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce, the questions asked weren't focused on business concerns but on issues targeted toward each office.

Judicial candidates were asked about the effectiveness of lay judges in justice courts. Those running for supervisor had to explain what they thought was right and wrong with the city's redevelopment efforts. District attorney hopefuls gave their opinions about plea bargaining. School board candidates were asked whether the No Child Left Behind Act was working and whether the school district was fulfilling its mandates. And those vying for state assembly were asked to identify and provide their opinions on two state initiative petitions.

"Most of (the candidates) aren't that far apart from each other on the issues," said Teresa Shouppe, a vice president at Nevada State Bank. She also said she thought the forum might help some of the audience members form some new opinions.

"It did give me some information, and it was information from the candidates themselves," said Maryellen Waltz, a fourth-generation resident and psychotherapist.

What was Waltz's biggest concern? "I don't think we do the best we can for our children," she said.

"I knew it was going to be long because there are so many candidates," said Ronnie Hannaman, the chamber's executive director. "The candidates showed how interested they were in the issues."

The forum was co-sponsored by the Northern Nevada Development Authority and Nevada Appeal, and the Brewery Arts Center provided its Performance Hall and equipment.

The forum was filmed, and an edited version is likely to air on community access television channel 10 in July, Hannaman said.

The primary election is Aug. 15.

The chamber plans a similar event after the primary to introduce the state and federal candidates. It will be an evening event so people won't have to rush back to work before it's over, she added.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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