Ocean View to hold annual candidate's night

The town of Ocean View will hold its annual Candidates’ Night on Thursday, March 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. at 32 West Ave.

“The whole idea behind Candidates’ Night is to give the voter an opportunity to one meet the candidate, and to personally hear from the candidate what he or she believes would be in the best interest for the town,” explained Town Manager Conway Gregory. “Why they are running for mayor and why they think they would make a good mayor. Or, in the case of council, they’ll be explaining why the voters should elect them.”

For the April 9 election, incumbent Gordon Wood, George Pickrell and Lloyd Elling will be vying for the mayoral seat. Tom Sheeran is challenging incumbent Perry Mitchell for Disctrict 3 councilman.

Those running will be allotted three minutes to give opening remarks to the public in attendance. Then moderator Bill Olsen will ask the candidates posed by those in attendance.

“The audience can come in and ask any question they want. They will write the question on the card and then they will give it to him. Bill will just put them in order as they come in and they he will ask the question,” explained Gregory. “They will randomly start with a candidate and go the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth candidate.”

Each candidate will be given approximately two minutes to answer each question. Once all have answered, each will be given an additional minute to rebut.

“It’s not really a debate, it’s really just answering questions from the public,” he said.

Gregory noted that the event has been going on for a number of years and is always well attended. In fact, usually all audience seats are filled and sometimes it’s standing room only.

“It has been going on for several years… every year I’ve been here. The first Candidates’ Night I attended was in 2008. How far back in history it goes, I don’t know.”

Gregory said resident participation in the past has always been high, but with five candidates, this April’s election is sure to garner more attention.

“It’s always been well received in the past. I would say, in this year with three mayoral candidates it will be a good turn out. I would say probably, we always have over 100 people,” he said. “We’ve had a number of people to come in to register to vote and we’ve had a lot of people inquiring about absentee ballots because a lot of our people of course will be away.”

Gregory said that he hopes Ocean View residents take the time to check out the event and learn about the candidates.

“I just hope we have a good turnout and encourage everyone to attend.”