STEUBENVILLE - Maybe you'd like to ask the county commission candidates what they've done to foster economic development in Jefferson County. You might want to ask the two men vying for state senator from Ohio's 30th District where they stand on, say, education funding or fracking regulations. Or maybe you'd like to hear what the candidates for the 6th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives have to say about job creation, the federal budget deficit, taxes or entitlements.
Whatever the issue, Thursday's political forum is your chance to get answers before the Nov. 6 general election.
Sponsored by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, the forum will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. in the main lecture hall at Eastern Gateway Community College's Steubenville campus.
Slated to take part are:
County Commission: Incumbent Commissioner Dave Maple and his challenger, Robert "Steve" Vukelic; Incumbent Commissioner Tom Gentile and his challenger, Craig "Billy" Petrella II.
Senator from Ohio's 30th District: Incumbent Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, and his Republican challenger, Shane Thompson of St. Clairsville.
U.S. Representative from the 6th District: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, and his Democratic challenger, Charlie Wilson of St. Clairsville.
A panel of media representatives will question the candidates on issues of general interest to Jefferson County residents. Those attending also will have a chance to submit their own questions.
"One of the hallmark issues for the chamber is to have informed voters," Chamber President Sue Hershey said. "This is a program we offer so the public can come out and ask questions of interest to them. The media panel has been working hard to prepare insightful questions, and we anticipate a capacity crowd."
Hershey said they've had "a lot of people calling and confirming the time and the format for the event and asking if they'll have an opportunity to ask questions."
"The public will be asked to write down their questions and submit them to the panelists, who will (pose) them to the candidates," she said.
Doors open early - at 5:15 p.m. - so voters can meet the candidates. They'll also be available for a time after the forum concludes. Hershey said that's so the candidates can meet one on one with the general public and pass out campaign literature.
Representatives of the city of Steubenville, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Indian Creek Local School District and Edison Board of Education also can use the time before and after the forum to discuss passage of their levy renewals and requests with the public.
"Given the amount of time it will take to pose questions to the candidates, there wasn't sufficient time to have presentations from representatives seeking levy renewal or passage in November," she said. "But we wanted an opportunity for them to meet with the general public one on one before and after the forum. In addition, those seeking levy renewal or passage can submit questions to panelists for presentation to the candidates."