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Lancaster County voters can hear their congressional, school board and County Council candidates discuss the issues Tuesday, Oct. 23, during the second Before You Vote – 2012 Candidates Forum.
The Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce and Duke Energy-sponsored event is free and set for 6 p.m. at the University of South Carolina Lancaster’s Carole Ray Dowling Center, 509 Hubbard Drive.
The event is the second of two Before You Vote forums. The first forum, held Oct. 16, featured candidates for Lancaster City Council and S.C. House District 44 and Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile, whose opponent, Scott Case, had a scheduling conflict.
This Tuesday’s event begins with U.S. House District 5 Republican incumbent Congressman Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land and Democratic challenger Joyce Knott of Rock Hill.
The U.S. House District 5 forum will last about an hour before Lancaster County School District Board of Trustees uncontested candidates Tyrom Faulkner of District 2, Bill Sumner of District 4 and Margaret Gamble of District 6 take the floor.
Though all are unopposed incumbents, forum organizers said they invited the candidates to take part in a 30-minute discussion of local education issues due to public interest and the countywide impact of their positions.
The evening will wind up with a focus on candidates in Lancaster County Council’s only contested race: District 5 Democratic incumbent and Council Chairwoman Kathy Sistare and Republican challenger Steve Harper.
Council’s unopposed candidates, incumbent Larry McCullough of District 1 and council newcomers Bob Bundy of District 3 and Brian Carnes of the newly redistricted Indian Land District 7, will be introduced but won’t take questions.
The forum format will follow that of the first Before You Vote forum, with Rick Jiran of Duke Energy moderating once again.
Candidates will be allowed an opening statement with alternating questions directed to each thereafter and a closing statement. Congressional candidates will be alloted two minutes for each speaking portion with County Council candidates alloted one minute for each.
Short rebuttals will be allowed at the moderator’s discretion, though in the past Jiran has gained a reputation for generally letting the candidates’ conversations flow so long as they don’t veer off topic or turn personal.
Questions for Tuesday’s forum will be chosen before the meeting by Jiran, chamber President and CEO Dean Faile, Lancaster News Publisher Susan Rowell, TLN Editor Barbara Rutledge and others.
Candidates will not be allowed to see the questions beforehand.
The public may submit candidate questions for consideration to either The Lancaster News or the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce before the forum.
Though audience members will not be allowed to ask candidates questions directly from the floor, they will be allowed to submit issue-related questions for consideration the night of the forum as time permits.
Faile lauded the success of the first forum and said he believes Tuesday’s forum will be equally as informative for voters who otherwise don’t often have the opportunity to hear their candidates discuss their issue positions first-hand.
“Our goal is to be as fair and impartial as possible and truly give every candidate the opportunity to share their vision with the audience,” Faile said. “We believe that local races can impact your day-to-day life more than any other political races, and so we want voters to be informed when they arrive at the poll.”
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for Tuesday’s forum.
For details, call the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce at (803) 283-4105.
Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151