A series of public forums is planned for candidates seeking the office of Missouri 40th District state representative.
The events are scheduled for July 14 at the Pike County Courthouse in Bowling Green, July 20 at the Ralls County Courthouse in New London and July 21 at the Monroe County Courthouse in Paris.
The Bowling Green and Paris events will be held in the courtrooms of the facilities. The New London event will be held on the lawn of the courthouse, but in case of rain, it will be canceled.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. on July 14 and 21. Each forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. and last about two hours. Guests at the New London event are asked to bring their own chairs. Further COVID-19 restrictions may force changes in the schedule and limit the size of audiences.
The moderator will be Brent Engel, an award-winning journalist, author and public relations professional. He will ask candidates questions submitted by local media and the public. Pens and paper will be available at each location for audience members to write down questions before the forums begin.
The candidates are Chad Perkins of Bowling Green, Heather Dodd of Madison, Ron Staggs of Paris, Woodrow Polston of Louisiana and Tommy Schultz of Curryville. All are Republicans. No Democrats filed in the primary. Incumbent Republican State Rep. Jim Hansen of Frankford is retiring. The primary election is Aug. 4 (with the last day to register to vote July 8) and the general election is Nov. 3 (with the last day to register to vote Oct. 7).
Following is the procedure that will be used at the forums:
* Candidates will be seated in ballot order. They will be given two minutes each to make opening statements, then alternate by ballot order on taking inquiries.
* Candidates will be given two minutes to answer each question. Opponents will then have two minutes each to respond. A signal will be given when candidates have 15 seconds remaining.
* The moderator will interrupt candidates who exceed the time limit and proceed to the next question.
* At the end of the question-and-answer period, candidates will be given two minutes each to summarize their campaigns.
* Candidates may not ask direct questions of each other and are requested not to submit questions of their own.
* Candidates are encouraged to bring supporters, who certainly may wear endorsement clothing, pins or hats. However, no political signs or banners will be allowed inside the building.