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 Candidates in the race for mayor of Eastpointe and the two contested seats on Eastpointe’s City Council will take part in a candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Eastpointe High School auditorium, pictured.

Candidates in the race for mayor of Eastpointe and the two contested seats on Eastpointe’s City Council will take part in a candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Eastpointe High School auditorium, pictured.

Photo provided by Caitlyn Kienitz

Eastpointe candidates to be featured in forum

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 4, 2019

EASTPOINTE — Eastpointe voters can get a better understanding of their local candidates at an upcoming forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Michigan, Macomb County chapter.

The five candidates vying for the four-year term as mayor — Harvey Earl Creech, Cardi DeMonaco Jr., Tonia Gladney, Michael Klinefelt and Monique Owens — will take part in the program. Additionally, the four candidates running for two four-year terms on the City Council — Harvey Curley, Larry Edwards, Mary Hall Rayford and Sarah Lucido — also will take part. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.

“The League of Women Voters exists to promote voter education, and we do that in several ways, and a voter forum is one of our primary methods. We try to accommodate different cities and townships who reach out to us to do a forum,” said Kathy Phillip-Poore, the League of Women Voters candidate forum coordinator. “It’s their chance to hear firsthand from a candidate. It’s an excellent way to learn about the different candidates who will represent you. You can find out who you may want to vote for.”

The forum will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Eastpointe High School auditorium at 15501 Couzens Ave. The forum will be structured by traditional League of Women Voters forum standards.

“We operate under a very strict protocol,” Phillip-Poore explained. “A League of Women Voters moderator asks the candidates questions. There is a league member who serves as a timekeeper to keep all candidate answers under the time limit. All candidates are asked the same questions and have the same amount of time to answer. The questions all come from the audience, and the questions are collected and our sorters filter out redundant questions and slander. Otherwise, we just let the audience voice their own questions.

“We keep any campaign materials out until after the forum is complete. We try to control any applause or other obvious support of a particular candidate. We don’t want any particular party or candidate to gain any sort of advantage.”

The League of Women Voters hosts candidate forums such as this one across the country during election seasons. This one was requested by the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce after the possibility was raised by an Eastpointe resident.

“The chamber held an Eastpointe candidate forum in October of 2015 that was very well-attended by the community,” said Linda Weishaupt, executive director of the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce. “Our moderator for this event was a chamber board member who was also a member of the League of Women Voters. We were happy to partner with them again for this important upcoming election that has a mayoral race (and) City Council race.”

This election will see the first use of ranked-choice voting in Michigan for the Eastpointe City Council race, where voters will rank their selections rather than just select their top choices. The forum organizers said that although this is an important topic for Eastpointe voters, it did not affect their decision to host a candidate forum in the city this year.

“I believe we will mention that ranked-choice voting has been instituted, but we have no position on the topic,” said Phillip-Poore. “It’s likely a candidate will mention it in their statements or an audience member will ask a question related to it. The city may provide some information out at the end of the forum.”

“Our decision to move forward with a candidate forum was discussed and decided by the chamber Board of Directors,” added Weishaupt. “Ranked-choice voting was not instrumental in this decision. The city is educating the community in workshops and may be available to provide information at the candidate forum. We have not finalized the agenda for the forum at this time.”

The organizers of the forum encourage Eastpointe residents to attend and hope it will help voters make up their minds come Election Day.

“A candidate forum provides communication between candidates and their constituents and gets the community interested in an election,” said Weishaupt. “The forum conducted by the League of Women Voters sets a positive tone with structured rules to advance the education of our citizens. Whether you have a specific question to submit or you just want to attend and listen, you will learn about the candidates that want to move your community forward and obtain information that will assist you in making an informed decision on the ballot proposals.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.