Town hall debate set for run-off candidates

Published 3:44 pm Monday, September 22, 2008

The curiosity of a newly formed community group is the driving force behind a public conversation among Pelham’s 10 runoff candidates.

Vision Pelham will host its first town hall debate on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. at Valley Intermediate School. Coordinator David Ladewig said the debate won’t adhere to a traditional format.

“It’s not going to be where (candidates) give an introduction and a speech,” Ladewig said. “Our goal is not to put on a gotcha, nonsense event. It is a real question and answer event that will give people in Pelham a good look at who these people really are.”

With input from Pelham residents, Ladewig and other Vision Pelham members made a list of 54 questions that have been issued to the candidates. The questions tackle a variety of issues – city policy, tourism, community relations and business recruitment to name a few.

“We had over 100 questions come in over e-mail. These are nothing but solid questions,” Ladewig said.

A three-person panel will question the candidates. Panelists are Bill “Bubba” Bussey of the “Rick and Bubba Show,” Alabama State Representative Mary Sue McClurkin and Brian Peters of ABC 33/40.

Ron Scott of the Economic Development Association of Alabama will serve as moderator.

The candidates will get 60 seconds to answer questions.

Ladewig expects 300 to 500 people to attend the debate. He believes the event could be the deciding factor for voters before the Oct. 7 runoff.

“We are putting on a very upscale, take the high road event,” Ladewig said. “It is a first for our city and we want out city to respond with that attitude.”