Candidate Forums Kick
By PRESTON KNIGHT
HARRISONBURG — Residents are invited to submit questions to the groups planning a pair of City Council candidate forums that begin Monday.
The Northend Greenway, Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition, Downtown Dining Alliance and Harrisonburg-Rockingham Green Network are the event sponsors. The first forum is at 7 p.m. Monday, followed by another Oct. 2.
Both meetings will be at James Madison University’s Memorial Hall, which is the former Harrisonburg High School on South High Street.
Holding two events will enable residents to learn more about what each candidate stands for, said Pete Bsumek, a member of the green network.
“The idea here is to do something more than give the candidates a forum for sound biting,” he said.
Eight people seek three spots on council. Mayor Richard Baugh and Councilman Kai Degner are the only incumbents on November’s ballot. Both are Democrats.
Deb Fitzgerald, a Harrisonburg Planning Commission member, is also running as a Democrat. On the Republican ticket are former mayor Rodney Eagle, University Outpost owner Christine Johnson and Anthony Bailey, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
Former city manager Roger Baker and city teacher Abe Shearer are independents.
All eight have committed to attend the first forum, at least.
Candidates will give opening remarks and then answer questions on 10 topics, including public safety, transportation and the city’s relationship with its universities. They will know the questions in advance, Bsumek said, but the public can also suggest questions at the events, and a few will be asked at the second forum.
The greenway is a trail planned to connect the Park View area to downtown.
Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or firstname.lastname@example.org