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Carthage Chamber to host city council candidate forum

Mar. 22—CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Carthage Chamber of Commerce has invited the nine candidates for the five open seats on the Carthage City Council to a public forum at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, at the Carthage Water and Electric Plant Community Room, 627 W. Centennial Ave.

Chamber President Julie Reams said all candidates have received invitations and a set of questions that will be asked by a moderator.

"We probably won't get to all the questions, but we've tried to ask pertinent questions about issues that really affect our community," Reams said. "Should they be elected or continue their tenure, how will they address certain situations? Each candidate will have two minutes to answer a question that's being asked. Everyone will get the same question, and we hope that we'll be done in an hour or an hour and 15 minutes."

Candidates for City Council are:

—Ward 1, incumbent Brandi Ensor faces a challenge from Derek Peterson.

—Ward 2, Loretta (Lori) Leece is the only person running for the two-year term.

—Ward 3, Dustin Edge is running against a former city council member, Mike Daugherty, and Ward 3 incumbent Robin Blair.

—Ward 4, Tom Barlow is the only person who has filed for the seat.

—Ward 5, incumbent Mark Elliff is running against Jana Hunter Schramm.

The city of Carthage is divided into five wards with two council members representing each ward for alternating two-year terms.

In recent months, Carthage residents have been asking questions at council meetings about issues such as the council's handling of a dispute with the Carthage Water & Electric Plant board last year, overall transparency of city business and the hiring of some city leaders.

Some residents have formed a political action committee called Carthage Citizens United and they've endorsed a slate of candidates, some of whom are opposing incumbents in the election.

Reams said the chamber is hosting the forum to allow residents a chance to hear from the candidates about their opinions on a variety of issues.

"We want to make sure our citizens here in town have the opportunity to hear all the candidates, their opinions or views on a variety of topics, whether its infrastructure or the budget, and how would they address those situations should they be elected to office," Reams said. "How do you spread the dollars out, what's important, what's not important? How do you fund bridges — replacing the North Garrison Street bridges have been a hot topic for several years — where do you get that money? Two years ago it was a $30 million price tag. Those are situations we're going to be faced with and they need to know how to address those situations."