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League of Women Voters in Detroit Lakes to hold candidate forums in October

Feeling a little lost in the sea of political ads and campaign signs in people's yards? The League of Women Voters (LWV) chapters in Detroit Lakes and Park Rapids are both planning a series of candidate forums in October that could help make your decision a little easier come Election Day.

The League sponsors candidate forums to educate the public about campaign issues, provide an opportunity for voters to hear candidates discuss their positions on issues face-to-face, stimulate public interest and participation in elections and provide an opportunity for candidates to engage with their constituents. All events are free and open to the public.

Detroit Lakes LWV

The forums hosted by the Detroit Lakes League are co-sponsored by the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce, the League's long-time partner in voter education, along with the Becker County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA), Becker County Energize, and the Prairie Woods Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America. These will include the following:

• Monday, Oct. 8: Two forums will be held at the White Earth Community Center. At 6:45 p.m., Becker County Sheriff candidates Al Fowler and Todd Glander will have the floor, followed by House District 2B candidates Karen Branden and Steve Green at 8 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 9: A forum for Frazee Mayor candidates Mark Flemmer and Ken Moisek along with City Council candidates Bonnie Julius, Mark Kemper, Kerry Strand and Nicole Strand will kick off at 6:45 p.m. in the Frazee High School Gym. That will be followed at 8 p.m. by the Frazee-Vergas School Board forum, with invited candidates Kim Antonsen, Matt Bauer, Stacy Cruz, Nathan Matejka and Daneele Shipman. There are four open seats.

• Tuesday, Oct. 16: The Becker County Candidate Forum will get underway at 7 p.m. in the Conference Center at Minnesota State Community & Technical College (M State) in Detroit Lakes. Incumbent Becker County Attorney Brian McDonald, running unopposed in his first election, will give a brief statement and answer voter questions at 7 p.m., followed by County Sheriff candidates Al Fowler and Todd Glander, who will answer voter questions at 7:10 p.m. At 8 p.m., invited House District 2B candidates Karen Branden and Steve Green, along with House District 4B candidates Paul Marquart and Jason Peterson will meet in the second forum of the evening.

• Monday, Oct. 22: The Detroit Lakes City Council Candidate Forum will begin at 6:45 p.m. in the Conference Center at M State in Detroit Lakes. The candidates for the two at-large seats are Natalie Bly, Beth Pridday, John Thorpe and incumbent Madalyn Sukke. Incumbent Ward 1 Alderman Dan Wenner is running unopposed and unable to attend. The two candidates for the Ward 2 seat are Rick Johnson and Jay Schurman, the incumbent. Ward 3 Alderman Matt Boeke, who is running unopposed, will participate in the forum. At 8 p.m. the Detroit Lakes School Board candidate forum will be held. The five candidates running for three open seats are Kylie Johnson (incumbent), Jennifer Pederson, Robert Strand, April Thomas and Tom Trowbridge.

• Tuesday, Oct. 30: The Lake Park-Audubon School Board Candidate Forum will get underway at 7 p.m. inside the LP-A High School Gym in Lake Park. At 7 p.m., the six candidates running for four open seats on the LP-A School Board will face off, including Becky Mitchell, Chris Skjold and incumbents Skye Bjerke, David O'Connell, Marvin Vareberg and Brian Wetli. Marge Beudine is running unopposed to fill one additional open seat in a special election.

Voters attending the forums have two opportunities to submit questions to the candidates. The League of Women Voters has an email for voters to submit questions in advance. That email address is detroitlakeslwv@gmail.com. By League of Women Voter policy, the identity of the person asking the question is confidential. Any questions submitted via email will remain confidential with all identifying information removed before the event. Audience members will also have the opportunity to submit questions in writing at the event, in accordance with forum rules.

The Detroit Lakes Area League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan 501(c)3 political organization, encourages informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The League of Women Voters does not endorse candidates or political parties. Membership is open to all members of the area. Membership information will also be available at the Candidate Forum. For more information, please contact Voter Service Chair Terry Kalil at detroitlakeslwv@gmail.com or 218 341-0452.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454