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Library forum draws SRO crowd

A standing-room-only crowd attended the candidate forum at Madison Public Library on Aug. 14.
A standing-room-only crowd attended the candidate forum at Madison Public Library on Aug. 14.

MADISON – Candidates in the Aug. 23 municipal election spoke to a standing-room-only crowd gathered at a forum sponsored by Madison Public Library on Aug. 14.

Moderator Gaylen Pugh said the library welcomed “our esteemed candidates and members of the public to today’s forum. The library appreciates the tremendous support it receives from the City of Madison as we work toward getting a new building that, as the second busiest public library in Madison County, is needed.”

“As a publicly funded resource, the library serves people of all ages and educational backgrounds,” Pugh said. “The opportunity to host this event is indicative of the role of the library as a public community center and partner.”

Seated, standing and peeking at a distance around bookshelves, approximately 175 people jammed the ‘back room’ of the library to learn about the candidates’ platforms. The audience spilled out from the back room to encompass a large area of the library, as patrons continued their book perusal, studying and computer searches.

All candidates for mayor and city council attended with two exceptions. James Ross, candidate for District 1 Council, was attending a funeral and provided a statement to be read for him. Karen Denzine, candidate for District 6 Council, was teaching a women’s class at her church; however, she provided a statement and did arrive later and participated in the question-and-answer portion.

The forum ran from 3 to about 5 p.m. Mayoral candidates — Paul Finley, Hanu Karlapalem and Troy Trulock — spoke first with three minutes to give their opening statement.

Next, council candidates took the floor with two minutes maximum for their comments.

The library supplied index cards and pencils for attendees to submit questions. The audience could direct a question to a specific candidate or a ‘group’ (all mayoral candidates or those people running in a specific district).

A sampling of questions for the council candidates follows:

* How will you promote green energy in your district?
* What do you think are the three biggest accomplishments for your district in the past four years?
* When do you think the drainage problem will be solved in District 3?
* Are you for or against annexation?
* Would you support a school board candidate who supports Common Core?

And questions for mayoral candidates included these queries:

* What is your position on the proposed Madison Recreation Center?
* How can we make Madison be more business-friendly?
* How would you improve communication?
* How do you stand on road improvements?
* How would you support the school board?

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