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Left Justified: Here come the candidates

September 15, 2010

By Stanley Campbell

I like hosting candidate forums. They are all so polite and cordial. The candidates greet me, the audience and then each other. They talk about the weather, and whether or not they have a chance at winning our vote on election day.

This year, I’m involved in two forums. The first is our annual one to get the candidates for a few minutes in a church hall and let everyone take a good look at them. The second is an environmental review of the slew of 35 Winnebago County Forest Preserve Board candidates vying for seven seats (talk about hog piling musical chairs).

You are welcome to meet candidates for all county and state positions Tuesday evening, Sept. 21. Those who have opponents have been invited to give a three-minute introduction to the audience, and (time allowed) answer a question or two. Those candidates who have no opposition (otherwise known as “lucky devils” or “shoo-ins”) are welcome to show up and say hello. We have enough candidates, but not enough time for everyone.

This public forum begins at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 406 N. Main St., in downtown Rockford. That’s the church across from Beattie Park.

You are welcome to meet with the candidates individually, and stay and listen to the whole program. If nothing else, there will be free cookies.

The forum is co-sponsored by Rockford Area Lutheran Ministries, Rockford Urban Ministries, and the League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford. Past forums hosted by these organizations have been very well attended.

OK, so not all the candidates are welcome at the church. Not because we don’t like them, but because there’s just too many running for the Winnebago County Forest Preserve.

Blackhawk Sierra Club will host that candidates’ forum at the Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford, Monday, Sept. 27, starting at 7 p.m.

All 35 Winnebago County Forest Preserve Board candidates are welcome to introduce themselves to the public at this free public forum. They are invited to speak for three minutes each about their reason for running.

Sponsored by the Blackhawk Sierra Club, the program is co-sponsored by a host of environmental groups, including Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, Four Rivers Environmental Coalition, the Natural Land Institute, Rock River Valley Wild Ones, Burpee Museum of Natural History, and the Green Communities Coalition. That’s a lot of voters!

Just for the record, the mission statement of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve is to “Acquire lands for the purpose of protecting and preserving the flora, fauna and scenic beauties…and to restore, restock, protect and preserve such lands together with their fauna and flora, as may be in their natural state and condition.”

Tables will be provided for campaign literature. Refreshments served, but I bet the Presbyterians may outdo the environmentalists.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

From the Sept. 15-21, 2010 issue

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