Denton voters will have several opportunities to hear city and school district hopefuls respond to questions during candidate forums in the next three weeks.
At 7 p.m. Monday, April 15, the Denton Firefighters Association will host a forum in the community room at the Central Fire Station for City Council candidates. While the forum is open to the public, the association often endorses candidates following its forum.
Three of the city’s four council seats have a full slate of candidates. Incumbents Dalton Gregory and Jim Engelbrecht are running for their third and final terms in District 2 and District 3, respectively. Al Sanchez and Travis Trawick are challenging Gregory. Engelbrecht also has two challengers — Brendan Carroll and Griffen Rice. Joey Hawkins and Phil Kregel have squared off to replace Chris Watts in District 4.
Kevin Roden, the incumbent in District 1, drew no opponent in his bid for a second term.
From 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, the Denton Neighborhood Alliance will host a public forum for City Council candidates in the council chambers at City Hall, 215 E. McKinney St.
The alliance has hosted forums for more than a decade, bringing in a moderator to help manage questions from the floor, which often address neighborhood concerns, according to Denton resident Karen DeVinney, who is helping organize the event. The alliance does not endorse candidates.
The forum typically is recorded and broadcast on the city’s cable access channel between eight and 10 times before the election.
The Denton Kiwanis Club will host a candidate forum for City Council candidates at noon April 17 and Denton school board candidates at noon April 24.
There are three school board races, and two are contested. In Place 4 are incumbent Mia Price and former mayoral candidate Donna Woodfork; in Place 5 are incumbent Charles Stafford and first-time candidate Prudence Sanchez; and in Place 3 incumbent Glenna Harris is uncontested.
Both the council and school board forums hosted by the Denton Kiwanis Club will take place at the First Baptist Church of Denton fellowship hall, 1100 Malone St., with lunch being served at about 11:45 a.m.
Ray Stephens, moderator for the Kiwanis city council forum, said that because of the quantity of candidates, each individual will be given three minutes to tell voters about themselves and what they intend to do if elected. Each of the five school board candidates will receive five minutes for opening remarks, he said.
Following opening remarks will be questions from the floor, Stephens said.
“Candidates have one minute to answer a question,” he said.
The main thing, Stephens said, is that those in attendance get to meet and know the candidates and that those candidates discuss policy with voters. Stephens, who served as mayor from 1986 to 1990 and on the council from 1975-77 and again from 1979-90, said similar forums gave him opportunities to meet with voters he may not have met otherwise.
“It’s a serious matter,” he said. “That’s why we look to have the forum — so our members can become acquainted with the candidates and [candidates] with the populations they serve, so it’s good both ways. We hope it works out well for everybody.”
Those interested in attending the Denton Kiwanis Club candidate forums are asked to make a reservation by calling 940-387-6323.
On April 28, the local chapter of the League of Women Voters has secured the City Council chambers to host its annual candidate forum. Peggy La Point said more details about the event are forthcoming.
The election will be held May 11. Early voting begins April 29. Thursday is the last day to register to vote for the election.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.