A tradition over the past 15 years, Bell Shoals Baptist Church, located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon, will once again host the 2010 Candidate Forum, a free community event designed to enlighten the voters of Hillsborough County. 

 The event, which over the years has grown in size, along with the surrounding area, has now been scheduled for Wednesday, August 11. It will give the nearly 60 candidates running for public office on the national, state or local level in Hillsborough County, regardless of party affiliation or political views, a chance to meet with those they wish to represent. 

The forum is expected to see close to 1,000 citizens, and being one of the first community-wide events to be held in the expanded space of the church’s special events center (SEC), with the assistance of its volunteer-run Community Issues Team.The program is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. with an informal meet-and-greet session, giving all in attendance the chance to meet candidates and ask questions. In turn, candidates will be armed with signs, campaign slogans and information kits, eager to answer questions, talk about their qualifications and say what they are ready to accomplish if elected.

The forum program will begin at 7 p.m. inside the chapel auditorium, where the candidates will speak briefly (approximately two minutes each) on the stage, sharing with all present a short version of their commitment to serve their constituents, while sharing their beliefs, goals and the reason for being the right person for the job.

While, of course, phrases like integrity, faith, justice and experience will expectedly fill the auditorium, many believe that the key topics to be addressed will include lowering or raising taxes, education, health care reform, the local infrastructure and the future of small business, just to name a few. 

“Topics such as less government, personal freedom, health care reform and the issue of the tax increase in connection with the proposed light rail in the county are all issues that are expected to be addressed during the forum,” said FishHawk Republican Club’s Kelly Clem-Rickon.Special educational resources will also be provided to encourage first-time and other young voters to become more engaged in the voting process.

According to Candidate Forum Coordinator James Pope, a 20-to-30 minute informal question answer session will also follow.

For more information, please visit www.bellshoals.com, e-mail candidateforum2010@gmail.com or call 951-6560.

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