October 11 – The Franklin County Democrat Party will sponsor a panel discussion with the candidates for the Chambersburg Area School Board this evening at 6:30 p.m. at Chambersburg Rec Center at 235 South Third Street.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll will moderate the session.
Barkdoll will begin with his own question and answer session and then the mic will be turned over to the audience.
NewsTalk 103.7FM plans to have a Facebook feed of the panel discussion.
Barkdoll said, “It should be a great event here. We are only a few weeks away from the election and this is maybe the only opportunity Chambersburg School District voters will get to see these candidates up close, answering questions about the school district policy, financial matters, matters related to educational policy. Really, whatever would be on someone’s mind. So I’m hopeful that there really are some just undecided voters that show up tonight to be informed and they get to see these candidates in action and will be able to make a better decision then on how they vote in a few weeks.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “This is sponsored by the Democratic Party, and thank you Democrat Party of Franklin County for doing so. But it is open of course to everyone. It is not limited at all in any way, shape or form to one party or another. In fact, I would very much encourage people from different perspectives to come. We get a rich variety of questions for these candidates and hear what they have to say. I know parental rights are a huge factor going on with school districts around the country, with people being wary that their children are being exposed maybe to some ideologies favored by people on the left right now. That is the controversy we see in school board meetings and comments around the country. So if this is something you’re concerned about, come out and ask these candidates some very frank questions.
Barkdoll said, “I commend the county Democrats for putting this together. These forums, anyone can sponsor them, of course, the point is that there is a forum and I’m glad the Democrats have put this together because I’m not aware of any other forum this season that is bringing all of these candidates together, and I commend the candidates. There are eight candidates running. Some of them are running unopposed. Some are in contested races and these are Republicans and Democrats. Some have cross-filed. Some have not. School board races, you’re allowed to cross file. So good all around that the party is sponsoring this and that all of these different candidates have agreed to participate.”
Jansen added, “Only three seats are contested between a Republican and a Democrat. That’s Region 2, Region 5 and Region 7. Two of the Democrats have crossed-filed as Republicans. When they do that, when their name appears on the ballot are they identified as a Democrat?”
Barkdoll explained, “If they’ve crossed-filed, their names show up as Republican and Democrat and I know this is a controversy, but that has been the law in Pennsylvania forever. Same is true with judicial races. The state legislature has said these are nonpartisan races and I know that doesn’t sit well with a lot of party people, but the reality is it’s allowed. I know the trend is don’t cross-file, only run under your party label, but political strategists would say it’s malpractice if you’re not seeking the votes from both parties. There’s been some talk in Harrisburg of reforming or changing that. Nothing has passed. So again, that’s why you need to be plugged into these races because the party label on the ballot is not necessarily the registration of the candidate himself or herself.”
Jansen said, “So no identification. Those two names will both show up underneath for the Republican School Board Director for Region 2 and Region 7.”
Barkdoll said, “If they receive the Republican nomination in the primary, which I believe they did.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “I worry about a speech before a question. We’ve seen the speeches that go down weird rabbit trails of okay, what does this have to do with what is the question? Since we have a limited amount of time, how are you going to moderate this? Is the question being submitted to you and you’re asking the question, or are we going to have open mic? Because when I’ve seen these Borough Council meetings, I mean, good grief, thankfully they got their arms around that and started going, okay, I don’t need a 10 minute speech about your travels around the world and all the rest of this nonsense. What’s the question that’s important to everybody in the room, not your life story on full display?”
Barkdoll noted, “This is a huge challenge in these kinds of forums. This is kind of getting behind the curtain a little bit, but I think it’s worthy of discussion. You’re going to have seven candidates, and there are going to be time limits on how long they’re allowed to give in response to a question of two minutes. Well you take seven candidates, if they each use their full two minutes for each question, this first round of questions from me, we’re maybe going to get through four questions, five if we’re lucky, but probably four. Then when it’s up to the audience to ask questions, again, there will be rules related to that. My understanding is that the citizens are going to be encouraged to ask questions specific to their region’s candidate. So in other words, if you’re in Region 2, you will be directing a question to your Region 2 candidate. There is going to be a timekeeper tonight and all efforts will be made to try to really be strictly following time considerations because we are so limited in time with the number of candidates we have.”
Jansen said, “We plan to be there to cover this and we encourage people to please come out and talk to these candidates. Maybe if there’s some time after and then definitely be there for the questions. Listen to those answers carefully and make your choices wisely. Maybe you know people that are voting for some of these candidates even if you don’t live there. Let them know what you experience there tonight.”