40 Below group plans candidate forum

MARQUETTE – The 40 Below Young Professionals of Marquette County will host a non-partisan election candidates forum Thursday in Marquette.

The forum will showcase candidates for the Marquette City Commission and Marquette County Board and will begin at 6 p.m. in city commission chambers of city hall.

“The forum will begin with candidates for Marquette County (Board) offering opening statements and fielding questions, both pre-selected and drawn at random from audience submission,” said Marina Dupler, chairwoman of a 40 Below candidate forum planning committee organizing the event. “After closing statements and a short break, the forum will resume in similar fashion with city commission candidates.”

Organizers said the 40 Below Young Professionals Board of Directors recognized an opportunity to provide candidates and the general public a forum to connect and engage in dialogue on issues important to local communities.

The Aug. 5 primary election race will see seven candidates running for three open seats on the Marquette City Commission in a non-partisan race. The primary election will trim the field down to six candidates who will square-off in the Nov. 4 general election. The term of office is three years.

Candidates include Brice Burge, Mike Conley, Tom Baldini, Craig Miller, Peter Frazier, Adam Robarge and Jesse Schramm.

The three vacancies were created because Mayor Robert Niemi, Mayor Pro Tem Fred Stonehouse and Commissioner Don Ryan can’t run for re-election due to term limits.

The Marquette County Board has contested primary races in three of the six districts. Candidates include incumbent Steven Pence and challenger John DePetro in District 1 in a Democratic primary race; incumbent Bruce Heikkila and challenger Jason Schneider in another Democratic primary in District 2 and in District 6, there are six candidates running: Republicans Mark Curran and Nick Smaby will face-off in a primary race, while Karen Alholm, Erik Booth, Dwight Brady and Randall Yelle will battle each other in a Democratic primary.

The winners will advance to the general election.

So far, several of the city and county candidates have agreed to participate in the event.

The forum will be recorded and will be available afterward on the 40 Below website at: www.40belowmqt.org.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is jpepin@miningjournal.net.