Sheila Staker

Mt. Pleasant mayoral

candidates invited to debate

 

By Robert Stevens

Staff writer

Oct. 12, 2017

 

MT. PLEASANT—Mt. Pleasant mayoral candidates will discuss hot-button issues and answer questions from the public in an election forum provided by a woman who is technically not even Mt. Pleasant resident

Sheila Staker lives just outside the Mt. Pleasant City borders and so cannot vote in the upcoming election, but she says she thinks it’s important for people to get involved in local-level politics, and that’s why she is hosting a mayoral candidate “cottage meeting” on Thursday, Oct 19 at 7 p.m.

She prefers that name for the event, rather than “debate,” though she admits the purpose is the same.

“Debate sounds a little negative to me so I prefer calling it a cottage discussion,” Staker says.

Staker says that what happens in Mt. Pleasant impacts her and her husband; by holding these debates, she wants to help people make an educated decision when they do vote.

Staker says interim Mt. Pleasant Mayor Sandra Bigler and opposing mayoral candidate Dan Simons have both agreed to participate in the political discussion hosted by Staker, and she expects nothing but professional and courteous discourse.

Staker says she will not be extending an invitation to the write-in candidate, Todd Horn, who lost in the primary to Simons and Bigler.

Staker says the format will be Q&A, with candidates having alternating opportunities to answer questions. They will each be given five minutes to introduce themselves and offer a summary of their political agenda prior to taking questions, which will be asked by attendees.

If a question is posed directly to a candidate, they will have two minutes to answer, and then their opponent will be given the option of making a rebuttal, agreeing with their opponent or saying nothing at all.

If a general question is posed to both candidates, Staker says they will each get two minutes to give an answer, with the first one to go being the candidate to go second on the last questions.

Staker says she thinks topics that will be discussed at the event will center on things like water and roads.

In 2015, Staker, who moved to the area with her husband in 2010, organized a similar event for six candidates who were all vying for three open seats on the Mt. Pleasant City Council.

Staker says she’s again holding the event because people having a say in what happens in their communities is one of the things that is great about America. But they can only do that if they get involved.

“Most places you go, people aren’t nearly as involved as they should be,” she says.