Goshen College hosted a mayoral candidate forum featuring Gina Leichty, a Democrat, and Benjamin Rogers, a Republican, last Thursday. The event, hosted by the Student Senate, was in the fellowship hall of the Church-Chapel. Students filled the room, requiring some to grab extra chairs and sit in the back.Along with Rogers and Leichty, all candidates for various council seats were in attendance and were recognized before the forum began. After a few opening statements and gratitudes, the forum began with the declaration of question topics given by Daniel Eash-Scott, a senior and vice president of marketing for the Student Senate.
Some topics discussed were accessibility, safety and tourism. The candidates were each given two minutes for each question and they answered the questions mostly in agreement, despite being in opposing parties.
Gilberto Pérez Jr., adviser for the Student Senate, said that there was a disconnect in his understanding of how the night was supposed to proceed. “There was a confusion and the confusion was on my part,” Pérez said. “When I met the candidates I proposed the possibility of having table conversations and I didn’t get the instructions correct. … I think it was a good opportunity, the topics and the questions were very focused on what’s going on in Goshen … [but] they didn’t speak a lot differently in terms of their different posture.”
With the questions sent beforehand, there was an air of preparedness that Eash-Scott also felt, which led to a lack of natural explanations. “It felt less organic,” Eash-Scott said. “There’s benefits to providing questions in advance, so they have time to prepare. But at the same time, if you’re asking them to think on their feet, are you really seeing who they are as candidates? They kinda just said the same thing.”
Election Day is Nov. 7, with early voting currently taking place.