Moderating a candidate forum
I was ecstatic when I learned that I would have the opportunity to moderate a Southside Place forum, which served to inform Southside Place residents about the candidates running for office this May. The forum featured both mayoral and city council candidates, who answered a series of questions – about their respective positions – that I presented. Having just turned 18, it is crucial that I understand every candidate’s plans for our community before I cast my vote.
Prior to the forum, I scoured the Southside Place website for any information that would be beneficial to both preparing my questions and understanding the candidates’ responses. I went through minutes of prior city council meetings, documents about “Poor Farm Ditch” (one of the hot-button issues related to drainage, especially in a hurricane-prone city like Houston), and various newsletters that feature the “happenings” in Southside. With this research, I had my questions narrowed down to focus on a few specific topics.
On the day before the forum, I met with Missy Roe, a fellow Southside resident and the primary organizer of the forum, and George Boehme, my fellow moderator, to scout out the Southside Place clubhouse in order to determine the physical spacing of the candidates and the guests.
After we determined the physical organization of the forum, all we had left to do was determine which questions I would be asking. We landed on about four questions (with the amount dependent on how much time we had remaining after audience questions) that focused on budgeting in a municipality, enhancing cooperation with surrounding municipalities (West U, Bellaire, City of Houston, etc.), and installing a camera system like West University’s. I also asked candidates what they believed was the most serious problem facing Southside, to which the answer was, of course, drainage.
I appreciated every candidate’s thoughtful responses, and now the last thing for me to do is cast my vote!
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