The Gonzales Inquirer is pleased to announce that it is hosting a mayoral forum at the Gonzales Junior High auditorium on Wednesday, April 10 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. The forum is designed to provide information to the community on where the candidates for mayor stand on issues the Inquirer editorial staff has formulated for each of the candidates to answer.
Each candidate will be allowed to make a five-minute opening statement, followed by up to five or six questions posed to the candidates by the editorial staff of the newspaper. Each candidate will have up to two minutes to answer the individual questions. At the conclusion of the forum, each candidate will have three minutes to make a closing statement.
Mayor Connie Kacir and candidate Rob Brown have confirmed they will be participating in the forum. The newspaper was unable to reach Bob Burchard prior to press time.
“This is a public service the newspaper is trying to provide the voting citizens of the City of Gonzales,” said Editor and Publisher Terence J. Fitzwater. “This is a privately sponsored event by the newspaper, but we are inviting the public to attend and hear what the candidates have to say on the issues at the same time.
“Let me emphasize, however, that this is not a debate in any way, shape or form,” he stressed. “This is an informational forum, and all the questions will be asked by the Inquirer editorial team. The public will not be able to ask any questions at the forum, nor will they be allowed to show any support or opposition to any candidate. Anyone who attempts to do this will immediately be escorted from this privately sponsored event.
“It is my hope that people will respect the democratic process and allow the candidates to answer the questions with respect and dignity. All too often in recent years the process is clouded by name-calling and outlandish behavior. That will not be tolerated at all on Wednesday evening.”
At the conclusion of the mayoral forum, the Inquirer is inviting the candidates and the public to a meet-and-greet at the Running M beginning 8:30 p.m. At this time, the public can talk to the candidates and ask questions that may not have been asked at the mayoral forum. In addition, appetizers will be available to the candidates and the general public.
“I have held these type of events over 20 times in my newspaper career,” Fitzwater said. “I firmly believe that a mandatory part of the American political process is for the public to hear the candidates on the issues in the same room and educate themselves before they go to the polls. The forum model and the informal meet-and-greet have been successful everywhere I have held these type of public service events and I don’t see why we can’t do that here in Gonzales.”
He stressed, however, that the same rules apply to the meet-and-greet event. The public is invited to attend, but any form of heckling or outrageous conduct will result in the offender being escorted from the premises.