On March 14 Gulfport goes to the polls to elect council members for Wards 2 and 4. To help voters decide, Gulfport’s Area Chamber of Commerce co-sponsored a city council candidate forum at Scout Hall along with LocalShops1 on Tuesday, February 28 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Two people are registered for the Ward 2 seat and four are actively vying for the Ward 4 seat. Five of the six registered candidates attended the event while a few dozen residents listened during the formal stage portion and some stayed afterward to ask questions in a more informal setting.
Running for Ward 2 are Linda Bailey, who did not attend, and incumbent Christine Anne Brown.
Running for Ward 4 are incumbent Michael Fridovich, Richard Fried, Bobby L. Reynolds and Ernest Stone.
The format for the event gave each candidate five minutes onstage to “tell us why they should be elected to represent you in city hall,” said Chamber President Barry R. Rubin. “Then, I’ll ask [each candidate] business-oriented questions furnished by members of the chamber.”
The chamber is a “non-partisan, unbiased, impartial organization,” said Rubin. “We hold these programs strictly for the benefit of the citizenry, the benefit of our members and the community at large.”
The timekeeper for the five-minute portions of the program was Ester Venouziou, founder and president of LocalShops1, a business-to-business promotional service based in Gulfport that helps others in the Tampa Bay area succeed.
“We invited all six candidates but Ms. Bailey has declined,” said Rubin. He welcomed the candidates and thanked them for their “willingness to serve this great community.”