While concerns with spreading Covid-19 have cancelled many events, the Salina League of Women Voters plans a primary candidate’s forum Wednesday night.
The candidate forum is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday. It that will be broadcast or live streamed on Salina Media Connection, Smoky Hills PBS (Bunker Hill), and Facebook Live.
Salina League President Lori Trow said the Salina League is possibly the first in Kansas to organize a virtual event that will feature candidates with contested races in the Aug. 4 primary and will give viewers the opportunity to submit questions to the candidates.
“As Covid-19 numbers have climbed in Saline County, several candidates had expressed their concern about the ability to safely have a public event that would allow us to social distance,” she said. “That is when we looked into doing a virtual event” from a downtown Salina location.
According to the organization, questions can be submitted to moderators and League members Ann Zimmerman and Abner Perney via email at [email protected] or by text message to the Salina league’s cellphone at 785-515-8721. Questions can be submitted either prior to the event or during the event.
Candidates and moderators, timers and media questioners will sit at least six feet apart and be wearing clear face shields so the audience can see their faces as they ask and answer questions, Trow said. All others will be wearing masks, with sanitation taking place during breaks.
Out of concern for public safety, no others will be admitted to the venue.
“With Covid-19, we still want to be able to do our forum; but in the best interest of the community, we are not doing it with an audience,” she said. “We do encourage people to send questions to our website or text the League’s cellphone.”
Trow said candidates who have contested races on the Aug. 4 primary ballot have been invited. They are Saline County attorney candidates Brock Abbey and Jeff Ebel; County Commission incumbent Rodger Sparks and his Republican challenger Randy Duncan; Kansas House of Representatives District 71 incumbent Diana Dierks and her Republican challenger Steve Howe and Democratic candidates Dr. Phil Black and Ryan Holmquist; and Kansas Senate District 24 incumbent Randall Hardy and challenger J.R. Claeys.