All four candidates in the Roanoke City Council Democratic primary are scheduled to speak during an online forum this week.
The event is set for Thursday at 8 p.m., five days before the June 21 vote, with three nominations at stake.
This is the first multi-candidate campaign event for the general public interested in the regular council election in November to fill three council seats. Voters will also decide a special city council election the same day, Nov. 8.
WFIR News Director Ian Price, who will moderate the forum, said he plans to ask whether the city “should revert back to a ward system — having representatives for each section.”
School resource officers are another topic he plans to raise, he said in a brief interview.
Members of the public can email suggested topics and questions for Price to consider. That input must be emailed by 5 p.m. Wednesday to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The forum will be livestreamed at RoanokeDemocrats.com and on the Facebook page of the Roanoke City Democratic Committee. That page is https://www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityDemocraticCommittee.
A dozen people have said they’re running for Roanoke City Council this year, though it’s too soon to know the makeup of the November ballot.
The makeup of the city council has to shift since Councilman Bill Bestpitch declined to seek reelection and former councilman Robert Jeffrey Jr. forfeited his seat because of a felony conviction.
Voters will fill Jeffrey’s seat with a special election Nov. 8 that so far is between Democrat Luke Priddy and Republican Peg McGuire. There is time left for additional candidates to enter that race.
In addition, Democratic incumbent Joe Cobb seeks reelection, while Democratic incumbent Vivian Sanchez-Jones, an appointed council member, seeks to be elected to a regular, four-year term.
When Democratic candidates Terry McGuire and Peter Volosin entered the race, that triggered the scheduling of next week’s primary involving them, Cobb and Sanchez-Jones. Julie Wagner, interim chair of the Roanoke City Democratic Committee, said all four will be at the forum.
Those running also include Republicans Dalton Baugess, Nick Hagen and Maynard Keller and independent candidates David Bowers and Preston Tyler. Jamaal “J.L. Jackson said Friday that he is running as an independent candidate and is gathering the signatures he will need to qualify to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. Voters will pick three.
Voting in the Democratic primary is open. Registered voters can cast a ballot Monday, June 13, through Saturday, June 18, by visiting the Office of Voter Registration and Elections, 317 Kimball Ave., Roanoke, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 21.