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PAVE schedules two Candidate Forums before June election

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

PAVE (Pottawatomie Advocates for Voter Education) has set two Candidate Forums in the coming weeks in preparation for the June 30 election.

A forum on the city races is set for 7 pm Thursday, June 11, in the Shawnee City Hall commission chambers. A second forum for county and legislative races will be June 18 at the same time and place.

“We discussed Facebook Live and Zoom but ultimately decided just to do it as we have always done, live and in person — except for no live audience,” said PAVE president Marilyn Bradford. “We will of course observe social distancing and other precautions, following the city’s guidelines.”

Only candidates, the press and a few staffers will be admitted to the commission chambers. All others will be turned away.

The city will broadcast the forum live on the city website and on its cable channel, and record it as well. Marilyn Bradford and Ronnye Sharp will serve as moderators.

Since there won’t be a live audience, questions must be submitted in advance, by June 9 for the June 11 forum and by June 16 for the June 18 forum, to allow time for screening. Check the PAVE Facebook page for the email address for submissions.

The June 11 forum, for city candidates, will begin with the commission candidates by ward and end with the mayor’s race. Ward 2 candidates Elliot Shuler and Bob Weaver have already accepted the invitation to participate. Ward 3 candidates are Travis Flood and James Harrod; Harrod has accepted. Ward 4 candidates are Darren Rutherford and LaDonna Bryce; neither has responded.

Of the four candidates for mayor, Ed Bolt, Theresa Cody, Ron Gillham Jr. and Dean Hudlow, only Bolt has responded at this point.

The June 18 forum will feature State Senate Dist. 17 candidates Brandon Baumgarten, Shane Jett and Ron Sharp; Senate Dist. 28 candidates Christian Ford, Mike Haines and Zack Taylor; Dist. 2 County Commissioner candidates Jason Evans and Randy Thomas; and sheriff candidates Mike Booth, Jeff Griffith and Ben Henderson. Already accepting for that forum are Griffith, Sharp and Haines.

“We are still working out details and will keep you informed as they firm up,” said Bradford. “We are very grateful to Chance Allison and the city staff for working with us on this. It’s a confusing time, but this is a very important election and we just couldn’t see not doing it. Please feel free to contact me or any of the PAVE officers if you have any questions.”

PAVE is a non-partisan voter education group that welcomes new members. If interested, leave a message on the PAVE Facebook page.