Residents had an opportunity to get to know more about some of the candidates running in local city and county races, which will be decided June 26.

Residents had an opportunity to get to know more about some of the candidates running in local city and county races, which will be decided June 26.

The first in a series of three candidate forums was held Thursday night at Shawnee City Hall.

Candidates for the Shawnee City Commission Ward 1 seat and the Pottawatomie County Commissioner Dist. 1 seat offered answers to public questions during a forum at Shawnee City Hall. Ronnye Perry Sharp served as moderator.

At the forum, candidates answered written questions submitted from the audience.

Ward 1 City Commissioner

Two candidates are vying for the City Commission seat — Ed Bolt and Steve Palmer.

Both already heavily involved in community-friendly organizations, the candidates each stressed their desire to be added to the board of commissioners in an effort to be a more of an influence in Shawnee's future.

Since his retirement, Bolt has been a major player in Safe Events For Families (SEFF), as well as being a downtown business owner and working with nonprofits like Community Renewal and the Blue Zones Initiative.

CEO of Neighboring 101, Palmer has locally spearheaded a program providing poverty-stricken residents with tools, resources and education that can transition them into a life of independence — and eventually help others do the same.

The winner June 26 will be elected.

County Commissioner Dist. 1

The two candidates for County Commissioner Dist. 1 are incumbent Melissa Dennis and Bill Meek.

Dennis has served as Commissioner for District 1 since 2011. Prior to her election as County Commissioner, Dennis was Pottawatomie County Road and Bridge Coordinator and an auditor in the office of the Oklahoma State Auditor.

Meek has been active since 2008 with Cargo Ranch youth program and currently serves as board president. He is also involved with Shawnee’s Neighboring 101 initiative and currently serves as a facilitator in the “Getting Ahead” program.

Both are Republicans; no Democrats filed, so the winner June 26 will claim the position.

PAVE

The forums are sponsored by the Pottawatomie County Advocates for Voter Education(PAVE). The group is a successor organization to the League of Women Voters. PAVE is a non-partisan voter education group with several years’ experience hosting forums. All forums are open to the public at no charge.

Watch for the four candidates' responses in Sunday's Shawnee News-Star.