Forum organized for mayoral race


With two candidates left to face off for mayor of Seymour, three organizations have joined together to provide the public an opportunity to hear from the candidates.

The Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce, Jackson County United Way and The Tribune have organized a forum for 7 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Earl D. Prout Auditorium at Seymour High School, 1350 W. Second St., Seymour.

Democrat Rexanne Ude and Republican Matt Nicholson have agreed to participate in the nonpartisan forum.

Candidates will answer questions about their background, issues facing the community and future plans. The questions will be given to candidates in advance, and each candidate will get two minutes to answer.

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The organizations also will select some questions from the public.

Shelby Thomas, a reporter with The Republic in Columbus, will moderate the forum.

Tricia Bechman, president of the chamber, said the forum is an important event because the city will experience its first change in leadership in 12 years when Mayor Craig Luedeman defeated former Mayor John Burkhart, a Democrat, in 2007. Luedeman was unopposed in 2011 and 2015.

“Our new mayor is going to have some big shoes to fill, and we will probably see some changes because it will be a new administration,” she said. “It is important to educate yourself and learn more about which candidate shares the same views as you, and I think this forum is great for that.”

Bechman said the forum will be independent and give the public an opportunity to form their own opinion on the race.

“We want both candidates to be represented fairly, and we want everyone to make up their own minds about who they support,” she said. “After the forum, we look forward to working with the elected candidate.”

Tonja Couch, executive director of Jackson County United Way, said her organization has been able to identify issues during community conversations conducted between 2016 and 2018.

“Those conversations showed us what the community hopes for, is concerned about and the action steps they want to see,” she said. “Co-hosting this forum is really important so that residents can learn more about candidates and how candidates will act upon those hopes, concerns and actions they’ve highlighted.”

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What: 2019 fall mayoral forum

When: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 8

Where: Earl D. Prout Auditorium at Seymour High School, 1350 W. Second St., Seymour


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