League of Women Voters Candidate Forum Draws Large Crowd

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Friday, October 4, 2019, 11:38 am
Alice Dreger

Last evening’s forum participants, from left: Erik Altmann, Lisa Babcock, John Revitte, Warren Stanfield, Jessy Gregg, and Mark Meadows. (Photos by Raymond Holt)

The East Lansing City Council candidates forum drew a crowd estimated at about 130 people Thursday night to the Hannah Community Center.

The event’s sponsors, the League of Women Voters of the Lansing Area, joined attendees in describing the event as a success.

Marilyn Wilson, Voter Service Director for the League, told ELi by email this morning, “We were unprepared for the number of people attending, but we managed to get enough chairs for everyone, and the Hannah Center graciously made some additional copies of the Vote411.org candidate responses. We heard very positive comments from audience members about the forum as they were leaving.”

Said Wilson, “The questions submitted by the audience were excellent – and very much on target regarding the central issues facing the City Council. The candidates provided comprehensive statements about their positions, they were respectful of one another, and they appeared to enjoy the opportunity to present their views.”

The League’s Co-President Donna Mullins told ELi by email this morning, “I can’t help but express my delight with the League folks who made this happen.”

Said Mullins, “We were really pleased to see such a great turnout from the community. Marilyn Wilson and her voter services team organized a forum that treated candidates and voters with respect. The questions were fair and represented current concerns in East Lansing. All in all, it was time well spent for everyone!”

Candidates made opening and closing statements and also answered questions from League representatives. The questions were based on what was submitted by those in attendance.

Questions included what candidates would do to advocate for transparency in the City and to “repair” the relationship between MSU and the City, whether candidates thought hiring a special climate change/sustainability manager makes sense, what to do about the e-scooters and about negotiations with developers, what candidates would do to protect and strengthen the remaining festivals in East Lansing and near-downtown neighborhoods, and how to handle City finances responsibly.

A videotape of the event will be available in the next few days, and we will post a link to it when it becomes available. Meanwhile, ELi’s voter guide is being updated as more information becomes available about the election.

In advance of the forum, ELi shared with the League all available results of a survey about what issues matter to voters in this race. That survey is still open and we will be sharing it with the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) as well, as that group prepares for the candidate debate happening on October 14.

The ASMSU debate will run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Room 115 of MSU’s International Center at 427 N. Shaw Lane. Parking after 6 p.m. is free in many MSU lots nearby.

Update: The League forum video is now available here.

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