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Face-to-face candidate session set in Kent

by MIKE SEVER | RECORD-COURIER REPORTER Published: October 5, 2016 1:00 AM

Kent -- If you want a chance to sit down with a local candidate for office and talk with them face to face, the League of Women Voters of Kent is giving voters just that chance on Oct. 8.

A "Face 2 Face" candidate forum from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the United Church of Christ in Kent gives voters a chance to sit with candidates for county, state and federal posts and judgeships.

Instead of a speaker and audience format, where voters listen to pitches by candidates, this format has candidates move from table to table of voters.

This is the sixth time the league has used the face-to-face format. The Kent LWV chapter is the first to come up with the idea, "as far as we know," said LWV president Iris Meltzer, who added the idea "grew out of the very first league debate I went to."

Before the switch, candidates stood at a lectern to make a brief speech and then answer questions selected from the audience.

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She said she was sitting next to a man during the questions period.

"He said, 'My question never gets asked/ Why haven't they asked what I'm interested in?' I just kept thinking about that -- how can we do something so everybody has an opportunity to get their question answered?" Meltzer said.

So they came up with the idea of round tables, where people can ask questions of the candidates as they move from table to table.

It's been called "speed dating for votes" but participants have said they like it, Meltzer said. "I know the candidates really like it, which is interesting," she said.

Candidates get several minutes at each table to introduce themselves, their positions and then respond to questions from the voters. Then the candidates all shift to another table.

The league person at each table is there as a facilitator. They're also there to make sure the discussion remains friendly, Meltzer said.


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