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Tualatin Chamber of Commerce to host candidate forum this month

Students from Tualatin High School will moderate the public event.

Tualatin-area voters will have an opportunity on Sept. 28 to meet the people seeking to represent them on the Tualatin City Council and in the Oregon House of Representatives and hear what they have to say about the issues.

The Tualatin Chamber of Commerce is organizing a candidate forum in the Tualatin Police Department's training room, often used as a public meeting space. The forum will begin at 7 p.m. Members of the public are invited to attend.

Linda Moholt, the Chamber's chief executive officer, said the forum will have a three-part format. First, each of the candidates will have five minutes “to present an overview of themselves,” she said. The candidates will then be asked six questions.

“It's a situation where we have asked three different groups to submit questions,” Moholt said.

The participating groups are the Tualatin Area Aging Task Force, the Tualatin Citizen Involvement Organizations and the business community, she said.

The floor will then be open for additional questions.

“There's definitely a chance for audience participation,” said Moholt.

Invitations have been extended to the four City Council candidates — Sonya Ambuehl, Robert Kellogg, Paul Morrison and incumbent Councilor Joelle Davis — as well as the two candidates for House District 37, incumbent Republican Rep. Julie Parrish and Democratic challenger Paul Carlos Southwick, according to Moholt.

“We just think it's important that people have an opportunity to get to know the candidates,” Moholt said.

The forum will be conducted by students from the award-winning Future Business Leaders of America chapter at Tualatin High School.

“It's a wonderful opportunity for them to get government affairs experience, which helps in their (FBLA) competition,” Moholt explained.

“It's just important that a high school student studying business needs to understand the economic issues around a successful business community,” said Jim McCaffrey, who teaches business and advises the FBLA chapter at Tualatin High. “And the government, their job is to, what, facilitate that, right? Make it easy to start a business.”

FBLA students from Tualatin High moderated a Chamber candidate forum two years ago, McCaffrey said.

“It went great,” McCaffrey said. “It was a great learning experience for the students, for sure. It exposed them to something that they'd never been exposed to. From all indications of everybody there, they all thought it went real well.”

When Moholt asked him about having them do so again this year, McCaffrey said, he agreed.

The student moderators at this year's forum will be Allison Mo, chapter president, and Jordan Maddox, vice president. Other members of the FBLA's eight-person officer team will help out as well, McCaffrey said.

The students will also have input as to which questions will be asked of the candidates, Moholt noted.

“We really want to work with them,” she explained. “We want them to be a part of the process.”

The forum should run about two hours long at the latest, according to Moholt.

The Tualatin Police Department is located at 8650 S.W. Tualatin Road.

By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor
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