Area residents will have another opportunity to hear firsthand from the candidates for county office during a “Meet the Candidates Forum” hosted by the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce next week.
The forum will focus on five contested county races, including St. Francois County Presiding Commissioner, St. Francois County Clerk, St. Francois County Recorder of Deeds, St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney and Probate/Associate Circuit Judge, Division 4.
Chamber Director of Events/Program Marketing Laura Raymer said this is not the first such forum the chamber has hosted.
“We have hosted forums for elections at the city, county and state level as well as local school board elections,” Raymer said. “Part of our mission is government advocacy and being able to connect the people in power with the people who have the voice. It’s really important to be able to take part this time and to be able to connect people with those who will be serving them.”
The forum will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday at Long Memorial Hall in Farmington, with attendees being encouraged to submit potential questions for candidates to chamber staff.
“It’s not going to be an open mic situation,” Raymer explained. “We’re taking questions in advance so we can go through those due to time, and because we have five different races that we’re going to be focusing on that night. We want to get them in advance so we can reword them as necessary so they’re something cohesive for the candidates to understand.”
Raymer said it would be beneficial for questions to be submitted as soon as possible for selection before the day of the event. Questions can be submitted by emailing email@example.com or by calling 573-756-3615.
“We’ll be selecting the top questions for each of those different races and then we will be moderating and presenting those to the candidates,” Raymer said. “They’ll have time for opening speeches, responses to the questions and rebuttal as well, then a closing statement at the end of the evening.”
Raymer said the event will be an important one, as an informed populace will be able to make the most effective decisions at the polls next month.
“We all want to be informed voters,” she said. “It’s important to hear directly from the voices of the candidates — what their feelings are, what their goals are and how they plan on supporting the citizens.
“I think sometimes to get that directly from them is the best way to go. It’s kind of unfiltered, so it’s not hearsay or he said/she said. You want to get it directly from them so you can make a more informed decision when you go to the polls in November.”
The candidate forum will be free to attend, with Raymer saying it would be a good idea to arrive early to ensure seating.
Like all elections, Raymer said next month’s election is an important opportunity for St. Francois County voters to make their voices heard.
“Whether it’s a local race or something bigger, you definitely want to be a part of the democracy that makes us so much different from many other countries around the world,” she said.