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York County ‘Candidates Night to Listen’ will help develop a citizens’ agenda

An important initiative this year for Digital First Media organizations (that includes the Daily Record/Sunday News) is helping communities to develop a citizens’ agenda for political races. One way we’re working toward that goal is by partnering with York College to hold a “Candidates’ Night to Listen” March 12.

What’s that? A debate? A forum where candidates get to give their stump speeches?

No, not exactly. It’s an opportunity for primary candidates in York County’s new 4th Congressional District to come and hear what citizens think are the most important issues. We’ve invited all nine candidates – even Libertarian Mike Koffenberger, who as a third-party candidate does not appear on the primary ballot. As of now, it looks like all the congressional candidates are planning to attend.

Of course, the candidates will also get a chance to speak after they’ve heard what the people have to say.

York College professor Loni Smith, managing editor Randy Parker and I have been organizing this event, and I’m excited about the possibilities. Respected local pollster and York College professor David Polk has graciously agreed to moderate the session, which will employ social media and some other high-tech wizardry to harness public opinion (think: clickers that will allow audience members to vote on various questions).

We hope you’ll mark your calendar and join us. See a news release with more details after the jump.


FEBRUARY 14, 2012

CONTACT: SCOTT FISHER, (717) 771-2049, sfisher@ydr.com

 Candidates’ Night to Listen

set for March 12 at York College

 York, PA – Candidates for Congress are well known for talking and giving speeches. Here’s a chance for them to listen instead – to the people who would be their constituents. On March 12, from 7-9:30 p.m. at the Collegiate Performing Arts Center (CPAC) at York College, the York Daily Record/York Sunday News and York College of Pennsylvania will cosponsor a Candidates’ Night to Listen.

This is no traditional campaign debate or town meeting. Candidates will be asked to listen as voters discuss their concerns and lay out the issues that resonate with them. Candidates will then have an opportunity to address voters.

All candidates, regardless of party, are invited to the event, and to mingle with audience members afterward.

Citizen comments will be loosely focused around broad areas of interest:

– Economic policy

– Social welfare

– Environmental policy

– Foreign policy

– “Hot button” issues such as abortion, immigration, gay rights, etc.

David Polk, a principal of the Polk-Lepson Research Group and professor of behavioral sciences at York College, will help audience members frame the campaign agenda they would like the candidates to focus on in this congressional race.

The event will be live-streamed at ydr.com, and people at home (and in the audience) can join the conversation in real time via Twitter.

The event is free, and ample parking is available.

Please join us for what promises to be an interesting, thought-provoking evening.