LEAP, La Porte Jaycees to host comprehensive 2019 candidate forum

LEAP, La Porte Jaycees to host comprehensive 2019 candidate forum
By: Stacey Kellogg Last Updated: October 18, 2019

Event can be viewed live at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yug2E3dHTR8

The La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership in affiliation with the La Porte Jaycees is hosting a La Porte municipal election candidate forum this month that is also combined with a meet & greet opportunity.

All candidates, regardless of whether they’re running opposed, have been invited to the 2019 Candidates Forum.

“We felt it was important this year to offer a meet & greet hour after the forum itself, but also to live stream the event for those who are not able to come in person,” said Bert Cook, Executive Director of LEAP. “The best way to become an informed voter is to get to know your candidates in person and hear their positions on the issues important to our community,” Cook said.

The event takes place Oct. 24 at the La Porte High School Performing Arts Center, 602 F Street, La Porte. The question/answer portion of the forum will be from 6-7 p.m., and the public can mingle with the candidates from 7-7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be available. The event is free and open to the public.

Ross Ratliff, National Vice President for JCI USA and a member of the La Porte Jaycees Chapter, said their organization became affiliated with the event to help young voters realize the importance of becoming educated citizens.

“The Jaycees are happy to be part of a candidates forum that promotes education and involvement of citizens in the community to be more informed before going to the polls. The Jaycees also wanted to get high school juniors and seniors involved to attend the forum, so they can learn more about civic engagement and the political process,” Ratliff said.

The organizations have worked with the La Porte Community School Corporation to offer students in government classes the opportunity to receive double credit for attending the event.

“It’s imperative that we assist young voters or potential voters with access to non-partisan civic events where they can interact with candidates and develop good habits for becoming informed voters,” Cook said.

Students at the high school will live stream the candidate forum on the La Porte Slicer Network YouTube channel.

The forum portion will be divided into three components: Mayor, Clerk Treasurer, and City Council. Candidates in each section will get a two-minute intro and three questions each with a timed one-minute answer. Questions will be collected from the audience and vetted by moderators for consistency and non-partisan content. Each candidate will then have a minute for closing comments.

Candidate who were invited to participate are:

Mayor: Tom Dermody and Matt Wilhelm.

Clerk Treasurer: Courtney Parthun (unopposed)

City Council At-Large: Tim Franke, Joe Mrozinske, Robert O’Donnell and Paul Vincent

City Council: Dave Schmitt and Julie West-Shroeder for Ward 1; Karyl Machek Feikes (unopposed) for Ward 2; Laura Cutler and Cary Kirkham for Ward 3; Roger Galloway (unopposed) for Ward 4; and Sarah Brown and Miles Fettinger for Ward 5.

For more information on how to get informed before local elections, check out the GreatNews.Life civic engagement series story on how to become an informed voter here: https://laportecounty.life/article/get-registered-get-informed-get-involved/

For more information about LEAP, visit them online at: https://www.laportepartnership.com/

For more information or to get involved with the La Porte Jaycees, visit them online here: http://laportejaycees.org/