Two political forums are set for next week at USFSM.

USF Sarasota-Manatee to host candidate forums

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: July 27, 2016

SARASOTA, Fla. (July 27, 2016) USF Sarasota-Manatee will host candidates for Congress and the Florida House of Representatives at two political forums next week sponsored by the Bradenton Herald and Manatee Educational TV (METV).

The forums, similar to debates, will feature candidates making opening and closing statements while also answering questions posed by a moderator, in this case Bradenton Herald Editorial Page Editor Chris Wille. The event is free and open to the public.

The forums are set for Aug. 2 from 4 to 6 p.m. at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

“The whole idea is have a civil discussion about the issues,” said Wille, who anticipates the two forums running 30 to 45 minutes each.

USF Sarasota-Manatee to host candidate forums

Dr. Sandra Stone

Said Dr. Sandra Stone, USFSM’s regional chancellor, “We look forward to hosting these forums and other similar events in the future to help voters stay informed about local candidates and where they stand on important issues that impact us all.”

The first forum will feature Democrats running for State House District 70: Wengay Newton, Dan Fiorini and Christopher “CJ” Czaia. The three are vying to replace Rep. Darryl Rouson, who’s running for state Senate.

House District 70 covers parts of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota and Manatee counties. The primary election is Aug. 30 and the general election is set for Nov. 8.

The second forum will feature Democrats running for Florida’s 16th Congressional District: Brent King and Jan Schneider. The district covers all of Sarasota and part of Manatee County.

USF Sarasota-Manatee to host candidate forums

Casey Welch

The forums are the first in a series of candidate events to be hosted at Selby Auditorium as part of USFSM’s Institute of Public Policy and Leadership, which advocates community outreach. Other forums through the primary and general elections will be announced at later dates.

“We hope these forums help to further the community dialogue about these candidates and policy issues,” said Casey Welch, assistant vice president for economic development and government affairs at USFSM. “I’m glad to see USF Sarasota-Manatee take a proactive step to work with local partners and provide the venue to discuss important matters facing our region.”

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