Candidates forum set for Friday at McDowell Tech

Friday evening, the public will have a chance to meet and hear from the candidates whose names will be on the ballot in McDowell County.

The McDowell County Food Advisory Council will host a candidates forum for the 2018 elections. This forum will be held at 6 p.m. Friday in the auditorium of McDowell Technical Community College. There will be a “meet and greet” portion both before and after the forum.

As of Wednesday, almost all of the candidates who are in the contested races are scheduled to attend Friday evening, according to the organizers.

The candidates who are scheduled to appear are: Republican N.C. Rep. Josh Dobson and his Democratic challenger Howard Larsen; Republican N.C. Sen. Ralph Hise and his Democratic challenger David Wheeler; Republican County Commissioners Tony Brown, Brenda Vaughn and David Walker as well as their Democratic challengers Paula Swepson Avery and Michelle Price. Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows has indicated he won’t be able to attend but his Democratic challenger Phillip Price will be there, according to the organizers.

This non-partisan event was put together by McDowell residents Alpo Portelli, who is a conservative Republican, and Heather Yzquidero, who is a progressive Democrat.

Earlier this fall, the public was invited to submit their questions online for the forum. The deadline for questions was Monday, Sept. 24 and the questions could be submitted to

Some of the issues and topics previously listed on this site include substance abuse, lack of affordable and safe housing, immigration, public safety, economic development efforts, food insecurity, public transportation, lack of broadband Internet and development along Lake James. But Portelli and Yzquidero said previously they want to hear from the public who might have different subjects and concerns.

This is the first candidates forum to be held in McDowell in several years.

“If anything, it is the fact that we have so many incumbents and challengers gathered in one venue to allow McDowell voters a great opportunity to hear the politician’s opinions on a range of subjects,” said Portelli.

For more information, call Alpo Portelli at 442-1196.

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