One of the election season’s only significant forum for local political candidates, who’ll be participating in a public Q&A, is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 4, starting with a little booze at 5 p.m. and a lot of questions at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Palm Coast.
The public is not only welcome but urged to be there: voter apathy has been embarrassingly pronounced in Flagler County, with the last two off-year election primaries striking successive turn-out lows of 23 and 22 percent.
All candidates for the three local governments–school board, county commission and Palm Coast City Council–are due to be there, as are two candidates for the State Senate race (incumbent John Thrasher and challenger Derek Hankerson). Rep. Travis Hutson, whose district includes all of Flagler County, is running unopposed, but he’ll be there as well.
The forum will, as always, be moderated by David Ayres, the general manager at WNZF, and broadcasting on the radio station as well as on 106.3FM. It is the first of two forums, with a second forum taking place before the Nov. 4 general election. It’s organized by the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce, the Flagler County Association of Realtors and the Flagler Home Builders Association, whose staffers are preparing the questions that’ll be posed to candidates.
Social hour begins at 5 p.m., affording members of the public to freely speak with candidates of their choice. There will be a cash bar, making such conversations much easier. Snacks, too, will be available, but visitors are encouraged to have a hearty dinner before showing up, as it will be a long evening.
After the state legislators and Hankerson speak, it’ll be the turn of candidates on the primary election ballot for the three local governments to answer questions in turn. Candidates running for Circuit Court Judge have been invited to attend the social hour, but will not participate in the Q&A portion.
Here’s the agenda:
5 to 6 p.m. Social hour with cash bar
6 to 6:10 p.m. Opening remarks: Moderator David Ayres and Rep. Travis Hutson
6:10 to 6:20 p.m. Remarks by Senator John Thrasher and Derek Hankerson
6:25 to 7 p.m. Q&A: Flagler County Commission Candidates
7:05 to 8PM Q&A: Flagler County School Board Candidates
8:05 to 9 p.m. Q&A: Palm Coast City Council Candidates
Times are approximate.
Flagler County’s Chamber, Association of Realtors and Home Builders Association have a successful track record of hosting nonpartisan candidate forums before elections. Candidates answer tough questions, address issues and talk about their qualifications for serving in government roles. The forums also give voters a chance to learn more about candidates and make informed decisions when they head to the polls.
The forum is free. For more information, call the chamber at 386/437.0106, or visit the chamber’s website.