City Council, School Board candidates meet twice today |

City Council, School Board candidates meet twice today

Brandon Gee

— With early voting starting Oct. 22, the time left for candidates to win over voters is quickly shrinking.

But candidates for the Steamboat Springs City Council and School Board have a good opportunity to make an impression today, as two public forums are scheduled in Steamboat Springs. The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association hosts a lunchtime event at Three Peaks Grill on Pine Grove Road, and the League of Women Voters of Routt County hosts an evening forum at Centennial Hall on 10th Street.

Officials with both groups said questions from audience members will determine the content of their forums.

The Chamber forum is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with a $20 cost that includes lunch. Prior registration was preferred, but not mandatory.

“We always accept people at the door,” said Chamber Executive Vice President Sandy Evans Hall.

Evans Hall said the forum will begin with opening statements by the candidates, followed by questions from the audience. Questions will be submitted in written form to moderator and Chamber President Dean Vogelaar, who will ask the questions.

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Evans Hall said the forum will give voters a good opportunity to get acquainted with the candidates.

“We are just trying to do some education for the community,” Evans Hall said. “I’d love to have people come. Everyone needs to be educated and take opportunities to come to these forums when available.”

Evans Hall said although the Chamber sometimes takes official stances on issues, it will not be endorsing any candidates after the forums. She said in her mind, the big issues in this year’s election are growth, annexation, traffic concerns, transportation, housing and Steamboat’s high cost of living.

Today’s second forum is at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall. Barbara DeVries, treasurer for the county’s League of Women Voters chapter, said the forum has been an election season staple in Steamboat for about 30 years. The forum is free and open to the public.

The League’s forum will have a similar format to the Chamber event. Written questions from the audience will be asked through moderator Mark Fischer, who moderated last year’s standing-room-only forum with civility and lighthearted humor – calming a heated 2006 race for Routt County sheriff between Gary Wall and Garrett Wiggins.

DeVries said the League event has a “non-confrontational” format.

“(Candidates) know they can come and not get screamed at,” DeVries said. “I think that’s the biggest thing, not being confronted with somebody who’s got an ax to grind.”

DeVries said the forum won’t include any discussion of ballot questions because of the large number of candidates this year – 11 for City Council and five for School Board.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization intent on encouraging an informed participation in the political process. DeVries said the candidates’ forum is part of the League’s mission.

“We’re always looking for members,” she said. “It’s a learning experience with yourself. I’ve been a member for 30 years, and I could probably get a college degree with all I’ve learned about politics.”

If you go

What: Candidates’ forum hosted by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today

Where: Three Peaks Grill

What: Candidates’ forum hosted by the League of Women Voters

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall

Upcoming forums

Host: Steamboat Pilot & Today/Steamboat TV18

When: 5 p.m. Monday

Where: Centennial Hall

Host: Steamboat Springs Rotary Club

When: Noon to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 23

Where: Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel