BY MIKE McCARTHY | MIRROR EDITOR — Voters who would like to learn more about the six local candidates who are running for three seats on Maumee City Council will have an excellent opportunity to do so during a live question-and-answer political forum in which all candidates will be allowed an equal amount of time to state their cases to the voters of Maumee.
The “Maumee City Council Candidates Forum” will be presented from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 12 at the Maumee Indoor Theater, located at 601 Conant St. in uptown Maumee. The event is free and open to the public.
The two-hour main event at 7:00 will be preceded by two other presentations that will start at 6:30 p.m. for the benefit of voters who would like to attend earlier.
The three candidates running for seats on the Maumee City Schools Board of Education will each have an opportunity at 6:30 p.m. to introduce themselves to the public and give a four-minute presentation on their candidacy. There will not be a debate between the school board candidates.
That will be followed by a 15-minute presentation by Maumee Fire Chief Brandon Loboschefski, who will discuss the merits of the Maumee Fire/EMS levy issue, which is appearing on the Tuesday, November 7 ballot. The chief’s program is scheduled to commence at 6:45 p.m. and will last 15 minutes.
Members of the Maumee community are encouraged to attend the forum for the opportunity to listen to what each of the city council candidates has to say about the issues that face the Maumee community and the possible solutions and ideas that each of the candidates believe they can provide.
The evening is being sponsored by the Maumee Chamber of Commerce, the Maumee Uptown Business Association, the League of Women Voters and The Mirror Newspapers.
All six candidates running for the open three seats on Maumee City Council have been invited to attend the event, including incumbents Gabe Barrow and Scott Noonan and challengers Ted Kurt, Dave Poeppelmeier, Tracey Elmore and Aubrey Hornsby.
During the forum, each candidate will be allowed a two-minute opening statement as well as a two-minute closing statement.
In between those two bookend statements, a moderator will ask specific questions of the candidates that members of the Maumee community have submitted in advance. There may also be an opportunity for written questions that will come from individual members of the live audience on the night of the event, if time permits.
All answers will be timed, and each candidate will have one minute to respond to each question. When each candidate has just 30 seconds of time remaining for their answer, a yellow sign will be displayed. Once the remaining time has been exhausted, a red stop sign will be displayed, signaling each candidate to finish their current sentence, but to stop immediately thereafter since their time is up.
According to the rules devised by the League of Women Voters, “The questions will be chosen from community feedback, both prior to the event and during the forum. Straight-forward questions on pertinent issues are encouraged. Leading, rude or ad hominem types of questions will not be asked.”
Questions will initially be addressed to the candidates in a rotating order to maintain a sense of fairness.
Questions for the candidates may be submitted ahead of the event to Kristin Meyer, executive director of the Maumee Chamber of Commerce, at email@example.com or may be mailed to or dropped off at The Mirror office, located at 113 W. Wayne St., Maumee, OH 43537.
The deadline to submit questions for possible consideration in the forum is on Friday, October 6 at 4:00 p.m.
During the forum, audience members will also be invited to submit questions to the candidates, written on index cards and then collected by volunteers, if time allows. The questions will be screened by League of Women Voters personnel before being asked.
The last time a similar forum was conducted in Maumee was in 2019 and there were enough questions that had been sent in advance to fill the entire evening’s time slot. The Maumee Chamber of Commerce submission method is recommended as the best way to get a question considered.
All candidate questions sent to the Maumee Chamber of Commerce will be forwarded to the League of Women Voters, whose volunteers will compile the questions, eliminate any duplicates and prioritize the most pertinent questions for use in the forum.
Theater doors will open for the event at 6:00 p.m. and will remain open until 9:30 p.m. Candidates are urged to arrive at the theater no later than 6:45 p.m. so that on-stage seating arrangements can be determined by a blind draw.
Event organizers respectfully request that all campaign material be limited to distribution in the theater lobby only before and after the forum. No political signs, shirts or any other political apparel or material will be allowed in the theater itself during the event, according to the rules set forth by the League of Women Voters.
The candidates, however, will be afforded an opportunity to meet with Maumee voters in the theater lobby for up to a half-hour following the forum.
Popcorn, bottled water and soft drinks will be available for sale in the lobby of the theater before and during the forum.
Residents who cannot attend the event in person will be able to watch the event live on the Maumee Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page.