Area residents will have the opportunity to hear and ask questions of candidates for local, county and state offices thanks to a series of candidate forums coordinated by Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce.
“The chamber isn’t just about business, although that’s most of what we do,” said John Pynakker, Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce executive director. “We’re also about community.”
All forums will follow the same format and begin at 5 p.m. in the Mohave High School Auditorium, 2251 Highway 95.
“When I talk to people about different candidates and different views, a lot of time I get the ‘I don’t vote’ or ‘I don’t know about these people,’” Pynakker said. “This is their opportunity. For the people that do vote, come on down and learn about what these candidates stand for, and for the people who don’t vote because they don’t know anything about politics, come on down and learn. and then go out and have your voice heard.”
Wednesday, U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward, along with State District 5 Reps. Regina Cobb and Paul Mosley and state representative candidates Jennifer Jones-Esposito and Leo Biasiucci, will take part in a moderated panel-style forum for Republican candidates moderated by Paul Bull.
“Unfortunately (U.S. Senate candidate) Joe Arpaio has never even returned our calls or emails or anything,” Pynakker said. “(U.S. Senate candidate) Martha McSally was here about six weeks ago — she’s got a conflict and won’t be able to be here.”
Once the primaries have been decided on Aug. 28, the chamber will coordinate additional forums for official candidates, from both the Republican and Democratic parties, for the Nov. 6 election, Pynakker said.
At the forum, each candidate will have two minutes for introductions and a closing two minutes to cover issues that don’t come up in the question and answer period or to summarize, Pynakker said. Audience members can submit questions for the candidates, which will be presented by the forum moderator.
“We want to limit each forum to an hour and a half,” Pynakker said. “I love sitting down and talking to politicians but an hour and a half is a long time to talk to politicians.”
Pynakker said he is looking forward most to hosting Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady and mayoral candidate Jerry Duvall, along with City Council candidates Norma Brummett and Gerald Ross, along with Councilwoman Annette Wegmann and Councilman Steve D’Amico on Wednesday, July 25, in a forum co-moderated by Tyler Carlson and Bruce Clark.
“People who impact your lives day to day are at this forum,” Pynakker said. “We have all six candidates, the two mayoral candidates and the four people running for the two city council slots.”
On Wednesday, Aug. 1, Mohave County District 5 Sup. Lois Wakimoto and supervisor candidate Ron Gould will attend a forum moderated by Joe Keunen.
“We’ve seen the importance of our county supervisors over the past many years, but specifically over the past year, in the fight for water, the fight against roundabouts, and having a local voice,” Pynakker said.
Pynakker said one of his best illustrations of why it’s important for people to attend and learn about government representatives happened at a recent public board meeting, where one attendee unhappy about the boards’ decisions asked how the public could get things changed.
“Rep. Cobb was at the meeting and said, ‘I’m right here,’ ” Pynakker said. “I want people to understand that this is what our representatives are for — come on down and see them.”