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PAVE sets virtual forums ahead of voting day

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

PAVE (Pottawatomie Advocates for Voter Education) has set two forums so residents can get to know candidates running for local office; the election is June 30.

A forum on the city races is set for 7 p.m. Thursday in the Shawnee City Hall commission chambers. A second forum for county and legislative races is slated for 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,” PAVE president Marilyn Bradford said. “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, at shawneeok.org; on its cable channel; and record it, as well.

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 are Elliot Shuler and Bob Weaver. Ward 3 candidates are Travis Flood and James Harrod. Ward 4 candidates are Darren Rutherford and LaDonna Bryce.

There are four candidates for mayor, Ed Bolt, Theresa Cody, Ron Gillham Jr. and Dean Hudlow.

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.

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