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Several political forums ahead

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It's considered one of Guam's favorite sports and starting next week several political debates and forums are set to take place featuring your candidates in this year's election.

The stage is set - starting next week island residents will get several opportunities to hear the candidates stance on the issues. It all starts with the Guam Medical Association when they host its senatorial forum on October 6 at 6:30pm at The Hyatt. GMA president Dr. Thomas Shieh said, "It's going to be a lot of fun, all 30 candidates are going to be there."

The GMA - which is the largest group of medical professionals on Guam- will ask questions particularly regarding healthcare from insurance to tax waivers to medicinal marijuana. "But it's going to be different from all the forums that you're used to because it's a longer format and it's a more professional environment and our questions are tough to answer," he said.

And speaking about being professional - Shieh says the gubernatorial debate set for the following week will be just as much. "Last time, when they both met, it got a little wild, we'll have more control this time but we don't have too much control because you want to see the substance of a candidate and I think people want to see that," he said.

As you recall, the 2010 GMA debate was considered chaotic as the format was more of an open conversation with no time limit and candidates allowed to jump in at any point during the question-answer period. The GMA gubernatorial debate is set for October 14 however is already sold out. And while the GMA will host the first senatorial forum, the Guam Women's Chamber of Commerce will hold the first meeting of Governor Eddie Calvo and former governor Carl Gutierrez. Board member Monica Guzman said, "We're hoping that the whole focus is on transparency and accountability so we're really excited this will be a unique and opportunity for our audience to get to know the candidates and where they stand on the different issues."

The event is titled "Conversations with the Candidates," with more of a town hall type of setting. It takes place on October 7 from 6 to 8 in the evening at the Academy of Our Lady of Guam auditorium. Guzman says the topics will range from the economy to women's issues-fittingly enough considering that women make up more than 50-percent of the voting electorate. A conversation with the senatorial candidates meanwhile will take place in two parts - one on October 9 and October 16 the latter of which you can still register for. Meanwhile on October 8, the Guam Community College's Supervision and Management Program will be hosting its first forum with the Republican gubernatorial candidates.

Class co-chairperson Raekel Santos said, "We mostly likely would be expecting questions about how we can reduce tuition costs because in this economy we're struggling to go to school and everybody wants a degree somewhere somehow."

The GCC democratic gubernatorial forum meanwhile is set for October 9. Both start at 6pm at the GCC Multipurpose Auditorium in Mangilao. The GCC Senatorial Forum is set for both October 21 and 23. Other debates and forums set for the month include the Guam Young Professionals Legislative Forum for Non-Incumbents on October 8 at The Outrigger from 11:30am to 1:30pm. The Rotary Club of Guam will host a gubernatorial forum on October 9 at the Pacific Star Hotel. The University of Guam School of Business and Public Administration in partnership with the UOG Endowment Foundation will host the Gubernatorial Great Debate on October 30 at the UOG Fieldhouse from 7-9pm. 
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