SARASOTA, Fla. (Aug. 10, 2016) USF Sarasota-Manatee will host candidates for the Florida House of Representatives and Senate at four political forums next week sponsored by the Observer Media Group and Manatee Educational TV (METV).
Similar to a debate, the candidates will field questions posed by a moderator, in this case Observer Media Group Publisher Emily Walsh. Responses will be timed and rebuttals will be permitted in some cases. The event is free and open to the public.
The forums are set for Saturday, Aug. 20, from 4 to 7 p.m. at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.
“We would ask that the candidates keep it civil,” Kat Hughes, executive editor at Observer Media Group, said. “Each will be allowed to explain their views and how they differ from their opponents.”
USFSM Regional Chancellor Dr. Sandra Stone said the campus opted to host the forums to, “help voters stay informed about local candidates and where they stand on important issues that impact us all.”
The forums will occur back-to-back. The first will feature Joe Gruters and Steve Vernon, Republicans running in the House District 73 primary. District 73 consists of parts of eastern Manatee County, areas along Interstate 75 and parts of northern Sarasota County.
After that forum, Republicans in the House District 72 primary, John Hill and Alex Miller, will respond to questions. District 72 generally encompasses parts of Sarasota County east of U.S. 41 and west of Interstate 75.
The last two forums involve primaries for Senate District 23, which consists of parts of Sarasota and Charlotte counties. Democrats Frank Alcock and Frank Cirillo will field questions first followed by a crowded Republican field of Doug Holder, Rick Levine, Nora Patterson, Ray Pilon and Greg Steube.
The forums are part of a continuing 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 general election will be announced at later dates.