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Get to know candidates for city council, school board at upcoming forums

AAUW, sports alliance host forums in late September

Published in the September 28 – October 11, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Staff Report

AAUWMH-logo-webWith the Nov. 8 election date approaching, candidates for various local races will have the opportunity to speak to potential voters at forums.

The Morgan Hill branch of the American Association of University Women is partnering with the Morgan Hill Times and Morgan Hill Life to give the public a chance to hear the candidates first-hand. The election forum will be held 6:30 p.m., Sept. 29, at the Morgan Hill City Council Chambers.

The Morgan Hill Youth Sports Alliance will also hold a special forum for city council and mayoral candidates. It will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Holiday Inn Express.

The Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots group held a candidates forum at the San Martin Lions Club Sept. 21.

The candidates for school board are Rick Badillo, Mary Patterson and Albert Beltran running for trustee area 6, Thomas Arnett and Angelica Diaz running for trustee area 5. Teresa Murillo is the only person who filed for the trustee area now represented by Bob Benevento, who chose not to seek re-election.

For city council, the candidates are Mario Banuelos, Armando Benavides, incumbent Larry Carr, incumbent Marilyn Librers and Rene Spring.

For Morgan Hill mayor, the candidates are Kirk R. Bertolet, Joseph Carrillo and incumbent Steve Tate.

This is the first time the MHYSA is hosting a forum for city council candidates. The group, which manages the city’s Outdoor Sports Center, believes that the people picked by voters to make the decisions on the city council will play an important role in the future of Morgan Hill’s youths involved in sports, said MHYSA President Jeff Dixon.

The AAUW organizes candidate forums every election cycle for the benefit of the community to meet with the candidates and ask relevant questions to decide who to vote for.

“For the past 22 years AAUW-Morgan Hill has strived to provide a non-partisan arena for citizens to learn about candidates running for positions in local elections, as well as issues that will affect their community by sponsoring or co-sponsoring a community candidate forum,” said forum organizer and AAUW member Margaret McCann.

The nonprofit group believes that this type of community activity creates interest in the up-coming elections, brings important issues into focus, gives the public the opportunity to present their own questions and concerns as well as an opportunity to meet the candidates in person, she said.

The AAUW encourages civic-minded residents of Morgan Hill to attend its candidate forum to learn more.

“Our elected political officials, media and educators emphasize the need for voters to be informed about the candidates and issues,” she said. “Being an informed voter is critical if we are to elect the best candidates.

This forum give the voter the opportunity to meet, question and listen to candidates who could end up being our next mayor, school board member or on our city council. Taking on the responsibility to learn all we can about our candidates is the best way to ensure that we make wise decisions and not depend on outside forces for our information.”

Morgan Hill Life reported in the Sept. 14 issue that as part of their civics activities, student leaders at Live Oak, Central and Sobrato high school were preparing a public forum for school board members to be held in early October. That forum was canceled due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

There might still be on-campus opportunities for candidates to address students on the issues, but that effort will be coming from the civics teachers and most likely held during school hours.