McDowell candidates forum set for Oct. 12

If you want to meet the candidates for elected office in McDowell County, you will have that opportunity next month. And if you want to submit a question for them, you have until Monday, Sept. 24 to do so.

The McDowell County Food Advisory Council is organizing a candidates’ forum for the 2018 elections. This forum will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12 in the auditorium of McDowell Technical Community College.

Organizers of the forum are inviting all the candidates for McDowell County Commission, N.C. House of Representatives, N.C. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to attend. This will be a politically neutral and non-partisan event. It is being put together by McDowell residents Alpo Portelli, who is a conservative Republican, and Heather Yzquidero, who is a progressive Democrat.

So far, they have invited incumbent N.C. Rep. Josh Dobson and his challenger Howard Larsen; N.C. Sen. Ralph Hise and his challenger David Wheeler; County Commissioners Tony Brown, Brenda Vaughn and David Walker as well as their challengers Paula Swepson Avery and Michelle Price. U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows and his challenger Phillip Price have been invited.

Organizers said Wednesday all of them have indicated they will attend except for two. Meadows already said he can’t be there because the U.S. House is in session and they have yet to hear back from Hise.

The public is invited to submit their questions for the forum. The deadline for questions is Monday, Sept. 24 and you can submit the questions to

Some of the issues and topics already 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 organizers said they want to hear from the public who might have different subjects and concerns.

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

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