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Local LULAC plans candidate forum

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

The public is invited to a candidate forum organized by Denton LULAC Council No. 4366, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the council chambers at Denton City Hall.

Candidates from both of Denton’s June 23 runoff races were invited to participate. Both Place 5 City Council and the Denton mayoral races had three candidates for the May 12 election, with no candidate receiving more than 50 percent of the vote.

Therefore, Pete Kamp and David Zoltner are on the June 23 runoff ballot for Place 5. Mark Burroughs and Neil Durrance continue their race for mayor.

Questions over open government and accountability drove both races. In Place 5, Zoltner, a veterinarian, said the current City Council holds too many closed-door meetings and isn’t responsive to the public. Incumbent Pete Kamp says the council believes in open government and follows the law during its executive sessions.

Burroughs and Durrance are both lawyers who served together on the council from 1998 to 2001 but have rarely agreed on the campaign trail. Durrance has criticized Burroughs, the incumbent, for pursuing a state law to build a power plant project near Denton Airport rather than call an election and for his business ties to the city as a partner in the law firm that collects the city’s delinquent taxes.

But the city government weathered the economic downturn without eliminating essential services or furloughing staff during his tenure, Burroughs has said. The city itself has seen economic growth along University Drive and near the new downtown transit center.

Roberto Calderon, president of the local League of United Latin American Citizens chapter, said the group felt it could contribute to the community by having the forum.

Each candidate will be allowed to make a five-minute opening statement. A moderator will ask the candidates six questions and each candidate will have two minutes to respond to the questions.

Denton LULAC members were still meeting to draft the questions, Calderon said.

“We’ll be asking things that don’t typically get asked in other Denton forums — for better or for worse,” Calderon said, adding that the topics would be those that are important to Latinos living in the city.

“We are a growing — burgeoning — part of the city,” Calderon said.

The forum is expected to last about 75 minutes.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. Her e-mail address is .