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Local News


Two Forums to be Held Thursday, Sparking Controversy

Tue, 16 Oct 2018 08:26:05 CDT


An evening that was supposed to feature one bipartisan political forum has turned controversial after it was announced that a second forum will be held in Montgomery County on Thursday.

The Litchfield Chamber of Commerce will host their annual event in the auditorium at Lincoln Land Community College, but it was recently announced that the Springfield Illinois Trades and Labor Council will also be hosting a forum that evening. The latter, however, will be held at the Historic Courthouse in Hillsboro.

According to Litchfield Chamber President Cory Evans, invitations were sent in August to each political candidate of contested races in the area. Evans said that some of the candidates accepted the invitation while others did not respond until last week. That's when, Evans said, he was notified of a second forum happening in Hillsboro.

After learning of the Hillsboro event, Evans said he reached out to officials with the Trades and Labor Council to request merging the two events so that candidates of contested races could be represented in one unified and bipartisan event. However, Evans said a council representative responded that Thursday was the only date they had available to host the event, ignoring the president's request completely.

Trades and Labor Council President Diana Carlile did not respond to a WSMI request for comment on the issue.

According to the Journal-News, candidates participating in the forum in Litchfield will include State Representative Avery Bourne and candidate Craig Barnstable, State Senate candidate Seth McMillan, State's Attorney candidate Andrew Affrunti, Montgomery County Clerk and Recorder Sandy Leitheiser and candidate Jake Leonard, Treasurer Jay Martin, Montgomery County Sheriff candidate Rick Robbins, and County Board candidates Megan Beeler, Roberta Meyer, William Bergen and Perry Jackson.

Those attending the forum in Hillsboro include State Senator Andy Manar, State's Attorney Bryant Hitchings, Treasurer candidate Nikki Lohman, Sheriff candidate Mark Brazel, State Representative candidate Dillon Clark, and County Board candidates Ron Deabenderfer, Steve Traylor and David Loucks.

The Litchfield Chamber's political forum reportedly dates back to the 1990s, and Evans said they strive to keep it nonpartisan and well-organized for everyone involved.


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