Election 2020

Gilbert voters will be getting a chance to view their candidates for mayor and Town Council up close and personal – on their digital device.

Unite for Education has scheduled an online 90-minute candidate forum that will run live at 7 p.m. July 14 at Meet the candidates for Gilbert Mayor and Town Council zoom.us/j/92464526737. It also will be available for later viewing on Unite for Education’s Facebook page.

The group also is giving residents a chance to submit questions for the candidates. To send a question, go to Unite for Educaton’s Facebook page or Google form tiny.cc/7otqrz.

Unite for Education in the past has held school board and legislative candidate forums as part of its advocacy for children in Gilbert and East Mesa. It supports strong public education, positive leadership and open dialogue within the  community.

But with voters about to choose the town’s next mayor and three Town Council members in the Aug. 4 election, the group feels meeting the candidates is important.

“We believe that a good relationship with the mayor and town council is necessary in helping to maintain and build strong schools and communities,” spokeswoman Collette Evans said.

“Voters should check out this forum to learn about the different visions the candidates have for the future of Gilbert,” she added. “It’s an important election, with several newcomers on the ballot, and our goal is to provide a way for voters to hear the candidates’ positions and ideas so they can make informed decision.”

Unite for Education stressed that while its focus is on education, residents are encouraged to submit questions covering a wide assortment of issues related to Gilbert – from the annual budget to town services to infrastructure to anything else involving town government.

The forum will be moderated by Gilbert Sun News Executive Editor Paul Maryniak.

All candidates will give an opening and closing statement and have the opportunity to answer each question that will be asked in the forum.

Unite for Education is an independent organization comprised of individuals with diverse political, religious and professional backgrounds. 

It was formed in 2014 as a response to concerns about the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board.  

Since then it has advocated for adequate funding by running override and bond campaigns, endorsed and supported several candidates in local school board races, and held public forums.  

Candidate forums this election season have been hampered by social distancing, but civic groups in other municipalities have held virtual forums successfully.

“Our sister paper in Scottsdale co-sponsored two candidate forums for their council and mayoral races and it’s a great way to engage citizens,” Maryniak said, adding:

 “The nice thing about virtual forums is that they can be archived so people who couldn’t watch them live don’t miss anything: they can catch up when it’s convenient for them. It’s nearly impossible to do that with in-person forums.”