IUSB to Host Debates for Common Council At-Large, District Candidates


Still undecided about who to vote for in next month’s municipal primary? Indiana University South Bend will be hosting two separate primary election debates between the candidates for South Bend Common Council in the coming days to help voters as they decide in this year’s local elections.

Tomorrow’s debate, which begins at 6:30 pm on April 14 in Wiekamp Hall Room 1001, will focus on at-large candidates. Another debate will be held next week on Wednesday, April 22 focused on district candidates.

At-large candidates are elected by a citywide vote. Voters will be allowed to vote for three at-large members. The city is also divided into six separate Common Council districts. Voters will choose just one candidate from their respective district.

“These forums allow for candidates, as well as citizens, to make their voices heard, and are an important part of the democratic process,” says Jamie Smith, the Interim Director of the IU South Bend American Democracy Project and an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department.

Organizers say that the hour and a half long event will include a debate among candidates in competitive races, followed by a meet-the-candidates event open to all candidates. The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available throughout the campus in any of the lots.

“Candidates will have the opportunity to speak on the issues that they feel are most important to the future of the city, and those attending the forums will be able to submit questions to be considered by the forum moderator. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet with candidates following each event,” Smith adds.

The event is being sponsored by the American Democracy Project, the Political Science Club of IU South Bend, and the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area. IUSB hosted a debate for South Bend city clerk last week.

In addition, a mayoral debate between incumbent Pete Buttigieg and challenger Henry Davis Jr. is planned for Thursday, April 23 at 6 pm in the Education & Arts Building (room 1011).

Below we have a list of the confirmed candidates for the Council debates:

Tuesday, April 14, 6:30-8 p.m.
IU South Bend, Wiekamp Hall Room 1001
South Bend Common Council, At-Large

Tom Price (D)
Karen White (D)
Jerry Donaldson (D)
Kintae Lark (D)
Lori Hamann (D)
Gavin Ferlic (D)
John Voorde (D)

Moderator: Dr. Elizabeth Bennion

Wednesday, April 22, 6:30-8 p.m.
IU South Bend Wiekamp Hall Room 1001
South Bend Common Council, Districts

Tim Scott (D) – 1st District, uncontested
Gil Michel (D) – 2nd District
Regina Williams Preston (D) – 2nd District
Randy Kelly (D) – 3rd District
Rod Goodchild (D) – 3rd District
Jo Broden (D) – 4th District, uncontested
Robert Emery (D) – 5th District, uncontested
David Varner (R) – 5th District, uncontested
Oliver Davis (D) – 6th District
Sheila Niezgodski (D) – 6th District

Moderator: Dr. Elizabeth Bennion

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