ALBANY – A Tuesday political forum will give the public an opportunity to hear from candidates for mayor and two contested Albany City Commission seats as the candidates reveal their plans for the city’s future.
The forum, hosted by the Albany State University Political Science Department and Political Science Club and Albany Cares, starts at 6 p.m. at the Billy C. Black Auditorium on the university’s East Campus.
The forum will begin after a meet-and-greet with the candidates.
Six candidates are challenging incumbent Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, who is seeking re-election, in the city’s Nov. 5 municipal election. The challengers are Edward Allen, Kermit “Bo” Dorough, Henry Mathis, James Pratt Jr., Omar Salaam and Tracy Taylor. In Ward IV incumbent Roger Marietta is facing Chad Warbington.
Three candidates are seeking the seat of current Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell, who is not seeking re-election. They are John Hawthorne, Leroy Smith and Demetrius Young.
“The students usually do a forum leading up to the election to let the political science students have an opportunity to get involved,” ASU graduate Tosh Sevier, who is one of the principles of Albany Cares, said.
From 6 p.m.-6:30 p.m. attendees can spend a little more personal time with the candidates.
“They can actually ask them questions before,” Sevier said. “It is intended to get the students on campus involved in the political process. We’re also reaching out to the school system to find all of the students who are turning 18 and encouraging them to register and vote.”
Community involvement is important in the citywide election to determine the persons who will lead Albany for the next four years, he said. Many people complain about their political leaders but also believe that there is nothing they can do about it.
“We want that apathy to disappear,” Sevier said. “We want our community to be engaged.”
The forum is also an effort to educate the public about some of the issues facing the city, Albany businessman Gilbert Udoto said. Giving people information about those seeking leadership positions is important in getting them involved in the process.
“We just don’t know, (but) one person can make a difference,” he said.
The format will give each candidate three minutes to make a statement, followed by six standard questions, Sevier said. Candidates will then field questions from the audience. Students will moderate the forum.
“In most cases, I say this is your life and your decision,” Udoto said. “If you don’t do that, someone is going to make that decision for you.”