Longmont Observer Announces 4 Debates for 2019 City Council Elections

2018 U.S. House of Representatives Debate between Congressman Ken Buck and Dr. Karen McCormick (Photo by Matt Steininger)

The Longmont Observer announced today that it will be hosting four total debates for this year’s city council and mayoral elections. At the same time it began soliciting input from the public on what topics should be covered — submit your suggested questions or topics here.

Longmont’s six City Council members and mayor are elected in odd-numbered years. This year’s election is on November 5, 2019. Council members serve four-year terms and the mayor is elected every two years. This year Councilman Tim Waters (Ward 1) and Councilwoman Joan Peck (At Large) are up for re-election, along with Mayor Brian Bagley. Councilwoman Bonnie Finley (Ward 3) is term-limited. Also on the ballot will be a question of whether to retain Municipal Judge Robert J. Frick.

The debates are being hosted by the Longmont Observer in partnership with the Longmont Museum and the Renaissance Room at La Vita Bella Café. The debates will be moderated by Observer opinion columnist Shakeel Dalal.

“This will be the second time we’ve done city council election debates,” said Longmont Observer publisher Scott Converse. “We view organizing events of this type as an integral part of the mission of any locally-focused media organization.” In 2017, the Observer hosted a debate between then-incumbent Jeff Moore against current-incumbent Councilmember Marcia Martin to represent Ward II. During the 2018 election cycle, the Observer, in partnership with the Longmont Museum, hosted the only debate between Congressman Ken Buck and Dr. Karen McCormick in the contest to represent Colorado Congressional District 4 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Repeating one of the innovations of its 2018 debate, the Observer will also be soliciting questions and topics from the general public. Questions will be selected by the moderator based on input from the public to ensure a diverse set of topics and points of view are discussed.

The schedule of debates is as follows:
September 7th: City Council Ward I Debate at the Renaissance Room at La Vita Bella.
September 14th: City Council Ward III Debate at the Renaissance Room at La Vita Bella.
September 21st: City Council At-Large Debate at the Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum.
October 5th: Mayoral Debate at the Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum.

In order to appear on the ballot, candidates for each seat must complete a certification and petition process between August 6th and August 26th. Until that process is complete, it is not certain who will be on the ballot. All eligible incumbents have declared their candidacy, however. City Clerk Dawn Quintana is expected to announce candidates who have met the requirements to appear on the ballot shortly after August 26th.

All debates begin at 3 p.m. and will last approximately 1.5 – 2 hours. Attendance is free and open to the public with no tickets required, seating will be first come-first served. Find out who your Council representative is.

In the event that any election or debate is uncontested, the event will revert to a town hall format. The deadline to file to run for a seat is August 26th, though you must complete a petition process. You can learn more about how to run for City Council on the City Clerk’s website. Find out how to register to vote on the City Clerk’s website.

All debates will be live-streamed on the Longmont Observer Facebook page and YouTube channel.

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