Berea Candidate Forum in Madison County

On Tuesday, October 30th, members of the Madison County chapter joined with Berea College's Student Government Association to sponsor a candidates' forum where candidates for Berea's City Council were invited to share their views on a variety of issues facing Berea. Although the night of  the forum saw some of the worst weather of the year so far, nine of the thirteen candidates came to Baird Lounge to participate in the forum, along with fifty students and community members.CIMG1223

Local KFTC members moderated the forum and kept time, dividing the event into a session where the moderator asked a set of prepared questions and a session where members of the audience were invited to ask their own questions. The prepared questions covered a wide range of issues, including town vs. gown tension in Berea, the recommendations of the Berea Economic Advancement Team, and whether Berea should pass a Fairness Ordinance. The fairness question included the phrasing, "It remains legal throughout much of Kentucky, including Berea, to discriminate against individuals who are gay, lesbian and transgender, or anyone who appears to fit into these categories" to avoid the frequent objection that protections already exist for LGBT individuals. The fairness question, more than any other offered at the debate, revealed a variety of views among the candidates, some in strong opposition and some offering total support.

After the forum had ended, the audience and the candidates were invited to remain in Baird Lounge to continue to discuss these questions while enjoying the refreshments provided by KFTC member Carey Henson. Overall the forum turned out to be a great success, involving Berea's citizens and students in a civic dialogue with their future leaders.

 CIMG1222

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