BY HANNAH HYAT
Salisbury University’s upcoming guests have the potential to influence education, public safety and the opioid crisis.
The candidatures running for District 38 Maryland State Senator and Wicomico County Executive now have the chance to address the public on corresponding topics, right on campus.
The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Salisbury Committee and Salisbury University’s PACE organization have come together host two on-campus forums this October.
The related topics will include the status of Salisbury’s airport, the Port of Salisbury, public safety and more. The forums are open to the public and free of charge.
President of the Greater Salisbury Committee Mike Dunn explained how the partnership between the three organizations was fundamental to the community.
“GSC is proud to collaborate with our partners at SACC and PACE for these important election forums,” Dunn said. “These two races have generated tremendous interest in our area. We thought that our three organizations could provide the voting public with a good opportunity to meet the candidates.”
Dunn believes the events will provide exclusive opportunities for civic engagement.
“We look forward to asking issues-related questions, and to having our moderator engage in some conversational questions with the candidates,” Dunn said. “We believe these forums are necessary and an important way to reinforce the need for positive interaction between the candidates and the voters.”
Incumbent County Executive Bob Culver will represent the Republican Party as he rivals Democrat John Hamilton and Independent Jack Heath on Oct. 10.
Salisbury’s Commerce President Bill Chambers said the forum will represent the fate of the county’s future.
“The next four years in Wicomico County will be challenging years for the winner of the County Executive race,” Chambers said. “Education, the county economy and affordable housing are just a few key issues that will require stout leadership. “
Democratic State Senator Jim Mathias will compete with Republican Delegate Mary Beth Carozza on Oct. 16.
Chambers said the election would have a large influence on the welfare of Delmarva.
“The Senate race between incumbent Senator Mathias and his challenger Delegate Carozza has significant importance to the shore and our shore communities,” Chambers said.
PACE Coordinator Abigail Horton believes the event will allow students valuable insight into the political process.
“We want to show students the political process and provide information which will help them make critical decisions,” said Horton. “We hope the side-by-side comparison allows students to see the candidates in a more direct form than a brochure or door hanger.”
Horton explained the event will model a real debate. Both forums will include a WBOC mediator and three panelists, one from each contributing organization.
“There will be one panelist from the SGB, the SAC and one student to represent PACE,” Horton said. “We are now in the process of drafting and finalizing questions, which will be presented by the panelist for the candidates to present.”
Both events will take place in the Wicomico Room in the Guerrieri Student Union at Salisbury University at 7 p.m. on their scheduled dates.