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July 15 forum for county commission candidates

July 07, 2010 - Voters who have questions for District #1 Oakland County Commission candidates have a chance to ask them on Thursday, July 15.

District #1 candidates will be at the Addison Township Hall, located at 1440 Rochester Rd., for a Candidate Forum beginning at 7 p.m., sponsored by League of Women Voters Oakland Area (LWVOA).

According to Jerry Burden, the Coordinator of Candidate Forums for League of Woman Voters, four of the nine candidates did confirm they were going to be there.

Candidates who confirmed they will be there include Beth Nuccio, of Ortonville; James R. Porritt, Jr. of Oxford; Steve Porter, of Addison; and Kenneth J. Quisenberry, of Ortonville.

"I have been doing these for 30 years, and many times no one confirms and they all show up," Burden said. "So even though our invitation letter says please confirm, half of the time a lot of them don't or they tell the clerk or local person involved in setting it up."

The forum will be a question and answer style format, with audience members submitting questions, which are screened for duplications and relevancy, they would like an answer to.

Burden said that the forum consists of a moderator, a screener and a timer.

He explained that candidates would get two minutes for an opening statement and then questions would start getting asked of the candidates in a rotating fashion.

"We start with question one with the first person in order and question two with the second so a candidate is never always first or last," he said.

Following the question and answer session, each candidate will get a one-minute closing statement. Burden added that there is supposed to be no interaction amongst the candidates and there is to be no interaction from the audience other than written questions.

According to Burden, people do not need to submit their questions before coming to the forum.

"We really don't take questions in advance. We pass out three by five cards and they write questions on them at that time," Burden said.

He explained that two people would be going around the room and collecting questions for candidates to answer.

"A lot of time people sit there for a couple of minutes and hear somebody say something, which brings up a question," Burden said. He added that the group usually has generic questions ready to go in case no questions come forward in the first few minutes.

"Usually we only need to use about one of them to get the questions going," Burden said.

He added that candidates will sometimes have their people submit two or three questions that helps or favors their candidate.

"The bad part about that is that the candidate already has a written answer because he has a three by five card in his pocket," Burden said.

The LWVOA is a nonpartisan group that serves 60 communities and 27 school districts in Oakland County, MI. Last year, the league conducted 29 community forums for city, county and school board elections throughout Oakland County.

As far as Burden can remember, the league has always conducted these types of informational forums as a way for people to get involved in government.

Voters can come with any type of question, but Burden noted the one thing that candidates cannot bring are campaign banners or signs.

"You can put your literature outside in the hall, but none of that stuff in the room," he said.

Visit the LWVOA website, lwvoa.org, for more information about the candidates and League of Women Voters.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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