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Rules promote fairness in School Board forum

NEW ULM — Voters will get their first chance hear from seven New Ulm School Board candidates running for election this year during a candidates forum Wednesday at the New Ulm Public Library.

This year voters will be able asked to vote for three of the seven individuals running for a school board seat. The three incumbents are Steve Gag, Amanda Groebner and Melissa Sunderman. The four challengers are Jo-el Flitter, Gigi (Germaine) Rysdahl, Michael Thom and Nicholas Thiel.

The forum will be hosted by the League of Women Voters, which previously held forums for City Council, mayor, state Senate and state House elections. LWV will be hosting the ISD 88 School Board forum in the library in anticipation of a larger crowd, as seven candidates are expected to attend.

In light of the interest in the school board forum, LWV is asking for the public to review the forum process.

The forum will be led by a LWV-selected moderator, who will explain the procedures to the audience and introduce the candidates.

Each candidate will have 90 seconds for opening remarks to introduce themselves. The moderator will then ask questions. In order to address as many questions as possible, each candidate will have 60 seconds to answer each question. If time permits, candidates will also have 1 minute for a closing statement.

Time limits for all comments will be enforced to maintain fairness for all candidates.

A timer will hold up signs to indicate when candidates have 15 seconds remaining and when the speaker must stop. All candidates will rotate the order in which they respond to questions. The moderator will determine the order of response using a randomized procedure.

Voters attending the forum have two opportunities to submit questions. Written questions will be accepted during the forum. Voters may submit questions via email to lwvnewulm@lwvmn.org before and during the forum. Voters may also submit questions by phone during the forum.

The identity of the questioner will be confidential. Questions will be screened by a neutral committee to ensure questions are applicable to all candidates, are forward-looking, not personal in nature, and are addressed to subjects relevant to the forum.

The election forums are not a “public forum.” While the public is allowed to attend, it will not be allowed to speak. Cheering, applause or booing candidates is prohibited.

The ISD 88 School Board forum will start at 6 p.m.

New Ulm Community Access Television and KNUJ will record the forum for later broadcast. The Journal prints and posts NUCAT programming in its Monday edition.

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