The May 10 election could bring many new faces to the Denton City Council, and thanks to a number of civic-minded residents, there are many opportunities to meet and talk with the candidates in the coming weeks.
While candidates have already appeared at several private events hosted by service or trade organizations, the Denia Area Community Group will host the first public forum Monday evening.
According to longtime resident Pati Haworth, she and her neighbors hope that going first helps build political capital for this small neighborhood boxed in by Interstate 35E, U.S. Highway 377 and the University of North Texas.
The forum begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Denia Recreation Center, 1001 Parvin St., for the candidates in all the Denton races including District 2, even though Denia is in District 4. The group has set up an e-mail address to mail in questions for the candidates, firstname.lastname@example.org, and food and drink will be provided, Haworth said.
A series of other forums are scheduled throughout the coming weeks.
Robson Ranch Republican Club
The Robson Ranch Republican Club has scheduled its mayoral forum for Wednesday. The forum will be held at the retirement community’s clubhouse, which is located at 9400 Ed Robson Drive. A “meet and greet” begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by a question-and-answer session at 7 p.m.
Resident Kathleen Wazny said the forum will be limited to the three mayoral candidates: Jean Schaake, 70, an associate dean at the University of North Texas; Chris Watts, 52, an attorney and real estate developer; and radio host Donna Woodfork, 44.
“That will allow for quality time to explore questions and answers,” Wazny said.
Audience members will be encouraged to write their questions on notecards for the moderated discussion.
Texas Voters Alliance
A candidate forum hosted by the Texas Voters Alliance and co-sponsored by the University of North Texas Political Science Department follows at 6 p.m. Thursday in Room 180 of the UNT Business Leadership Building, 1307 W. Highland St.
Free parking is available in Lot 41, at the corner of Eagle Drive and Welch Street, and in Lot 20, off North Texas Boulevard. Paid parking is available on Highland Street for $2 per hour. More information can be found online at www.facebook.com/groups/Texas.Voters.Alliance.
Denton Firefighters Association
On Monday, April 7, the candidates will vie for key endorsements with the Denton Firefighters Association. Denton firefighters pledge time and money to help the candidates they endorse.
Earlier in March, Denton candidates met with a panel of local real estate agents vying for support that often translates into big campaign donations from the Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee. However, that forum was private.
The firefighters will serve food and beverages beginning at 6 p.m. in the Central Fire Station, 332 E. Hickory St., so that people can visit with the candidates. The group’s two-hour forum begins at 7 p.m.
Two more forums will be recorded for later broadcast on community cable television, one planned by the local chapter of the League of Women Voters and another by the Denton Neighborhood Association.
The league’s forum will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 10, in the council chambers at Denton City Hall, 215 E. McKinney St. In addition to the mayoral and District 2 candidates, the league invited the at-large candidates to participate, according to chapter president Sue Smith.
Smith encouraged people to bring their questions in writing for a moderated question-and-answer session.
The Denton Neighborhood Association will again play host to its annual forum, which is scheduled to run from 7 to 9 p.m. April 24, according to Patrice Lyke.
DTV has not yet announced the broadcast schedule for the two forums, said Nann Goplerud, station manager.
The Denton chapter of the NAACP will have its forum from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 26, at the Central Fire Station, likely the last of the public forums before the election begins.
The last day to register to vote is April 10. Early voting begins April 28.
In the Place 5 race, local businesswoman Hatice Salih, 55, faces retired educator, Dalton Gregory, 61, who currently represents District 2. Real estate developer Gregory Johnson, 45, is running uncontested for Place 6, after technology consultant Brendan Carroll, 44, recently withdrew from the race, although his name will still appear on the ballot.
The District 2 candidates are local businessmen John Ryan, 48, and Glenn Farris, 34.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.
Denton City Council candidates
At-large Place 5
Hatice I. Salih
At-large Place 6
(M. Brendan Carroll has withdrawn but will remain on the ballot.)
District 2 (unexpired term)