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Chamber, LEAP host candidate forum Thursday

The Levelland Chamber of Commerce and Levelland’s Emerging and Active Professionals will host the candidates forum Thursday, February 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Sundown Room on the South Plains College campus in Levelland.

The forum will feature candidates from the three contested races in the upcoming March primary election:

–Justice of the Peace for Precinct No. 5, Derek Lawless, incumbent; and Pam Kiser;
–Republican Party Chair, Joyce Lynn Evans and Pat Cowan, incumbent; and
–Hockley County Commissioner for Precinct No. 4, Thomas “Tommy” Clevenger, incumbent; Ricky Sherrill, and Greg E. Kelley.

Mary Siders, president of the Levelland Chamber of Commerce, said the purpose of this event is to introduce the candidates who are running for office and provide an opportunity for them to address constituents and voters.

“The purpose of this event is to introduce candidates running in the elections that play an important part in the community,” Siders said. “The intent of this forum is to provide a positive and informative venue that enables citizens to hear each of the candidates plans and directions if elected.”

The forum will begin promptly at 6 p.m. with Justice of the Peace for Precinct No. 5, followed by the Republican Party Chair and ending with County Commissioner for Precinct No. 4.

Ty Gregory, a member of LEAP, has volunteered to emcee the event and the LEAP group will also provide a live broadcast of the forum through Facebook on the Levelland Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page.

Every candidate will be asked four questions, which were determined by a volunteer committee made up of members from the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and LEAP.

Candidates will have three minutes to answer each question and will be timed. The moderator and timekeeper will be seated at a table at the front of the room.

Time will begin when candidates start to answer each question. When there are only 30 seconds remaining, the timekeeper will hold up a yellow flag, indicating the candidate has 30 seconds to finish their answer.

When the full three minutes have expired, a red flag will be shown and candidates will be required to stop their response.

Candidates are not required to utilize the full three minutes to answer questions but no response can exceed three minutes. This is to provide equal time and opportunity for each candidate.

The questions for the candidates will include:
–Please tell us about yourself and why you are running for office;
–What experiences do you have that make you qualified for this position?
–What is the biggest issue facing the office for which you are running and how would you propose addressing it?

The fourth question will vary depending on the office for which the candidate is running. Specific questions are:
–Justice of the Peace for Precinct No. 5: Why are community partnerships important in this position and how would you facilitate these?
–Republican Party Chair: To you, what are the most important responsibilities of the Republican Party Chair?
–County Commissioner for Precinct No. 4: In the position of County Commissioner, how would you work to retain citizens in Hockley County?

There will not be a formal question and answer session from the audience, however attendees might choose to visit with candidates in-person after the forum is complete to ask individual questions.

While there have never been issues with the audience before, security personnel will be in attendance at the event.

Candidates are encouraged to use the event as an opportunity to distribute election and campaign materials, but are asked to take any leftover materials with them when they leave.

The Levelland Chamber of Commerce is a 501c6 non-profit organization and is not allowed to provide any type of endorsement for any candidate.

The candidates forum is being advertised via the local newspaper and radio station, and through social media.

As of Friday, the candidates who had agreed to be in attendance at the forum included: Derek Lawless, Pam Kiser, Joyce Lynn Evans, Tommy Clevenger, Greg E. Kelley and Ricky Sherrill.

Pat Cowan has confirmed she will not be in attendance.

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