Source: Sherman Publications

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Learn views at debate

by Mary Keck

October 17, 2012

Citizens will have an opportunity to hear from Independence Township trustee candidates when the League of Women Voters (LWV) holds a debate.

According to Judy Bateman of the LWV, each candidate will give a one-minute opening and closing statement, and they will have one minute to respond to questions from the audience and from Mary Keck, staff reporter for The Clarkston News. The LWV's Mary Howarth will moderate the debate.

The LWV is a non-partisan, non-profit organization, run by volunteers, said Bateman. Members of the LWV hope to "educate on issues we've studied and come to a consensus on," she said.

The LWV has recently studied redistricting and prisons; the results of their studies are used to educate the legislature, said Bateman. "We do not ever endorse candidates or political parties," she added.

Hosting debates is not new for the LWV. "We've done this since 1980," Bateman said. "It's an initiative of the LWV to have an educated electorate." In addition to moderating the debate, the LWV will have voter guides available for interested citizens who attend.

To Bateman, debates are important because "any person who has filed [for candidacy] is obligated to come before the public and express their views."

Although many may have already cast their absentee ballots or may already know how they'll vote, Bateman insists that debates can change people's minds.

"I've changed my mind," she said. "When you see a candidate express themselves, you can judge if somebody is qualified."

Candidates who typically do well during debates are knowledgeable about issues, know why they are running and why they are qualified, and can back up how they feel with information, Bateman explained.

Republican candidate David Lohmeier and Democrats Joe Wauldron, Jeremy Mitchell, and Kevin Bushroe have agreed to participate in the debate, which will take place on October 22 from 2-4 p.m. at the Township Hall.

As of October 15, Republican candidates Jose Aliaga, Andrea Shroeder, and Ron Ritchie had not confirmed that they would participate. To find out more about the League of Women Voters or review a voter guide, go to