Municipal candidates square off in Monday forum

By Tony Parra

Portales residents wanting to know more about the candidates for the municipal election will get their chance during a candidate forum on Monday sponsored by the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce and the city of Portales.

All 12 candidates are scheduled to talk about their views on different topics dealing with the city of Portales and it’s future. The forum begins at 5:30 p.m. on Monday in the Memorial Building.

The forum format allows for questions from the audience directed at one individual or to all of the candidates at once.

“First, it will help voters meet the candidates they don’t already know and become more familiar with their views and beliefs on issues that concern the community,” Sharon King, Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce manager, said. “Second, it will help residents gain more understanding on the issues being faced by city officials today.”

The Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce and the city of Portales are sponsoring the forum to give residents the opportunity to learn more about the candidates and to encourage them to come out to vote in the March 7 municipal election.

Organizers are planning the forum to take approximately 1 1/2 hours. Debi Lee, city manager, said the intention is to provide an informative forum in a timely manner allowing people to go home for dinner at approximately 7 p.m.

“My role is simple, I will explain how the process will work to the candidates,” Lee said. “They will be given an exact amount of time to answer each question.”

Audience members can write down the questions on a piece of paper. King said pencils and paper will be provided for them or audience members can bring them from home. King said monitors will review the questions for appropriateness before passing them to King, who will ask the questions to the candidates.

Lee said the reason the city of Portales officials are helping out with the forum is to encourage voter turnout.

“The city’s role is to help promote the election and to encourage people to vote,” Lee said. Lee said they do not want to see a low voter turnout such as the mil levy election on Tuesday. Portales voters approved a Portales school district mil levy Tuesday by a vote of 364-108. Only 472 voters out of 10,158 eligible voters participated, according to Roosevelt County Clerk Janet Collins.

“We want the citizens to know more about the candidates who want to represent them on all of the issues,” Lee said. “It’s important they (voters) understand the issues in the community. We want people to go out and vote.”

All of the candidates will get two minutes to introduce themselves before the question portion of the forum. City council candidates will get a chance to respond to questions and explain their vision of Portales’ future.

The municipal judge candidates will talk about their roles, responsibilities and communication between city and county departments.

People who are interested in obtaining an application for an absentee ballot can do so in the city clerk’s office, but it needs to be done by 5 p.m. on March 3.