Voters meet the candidates, say more should take advantage of events

Oct 20 2010 - 11:29pm

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(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) Sam Granato, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, speaks during a meet-the-candidates night sponsored by the  Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) Audience members, including two Boy Scouts who attended as part of a requirement for the citizenship in the nation merit badge, listen to speeches during a meet-the-candidates event sponsored by the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) Sam Granato, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks during a meet-the-candidates event sponsored by the Ogden?Weber Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) Sam Granato, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, speaks during a meet-the-candidates night sponsored by the  Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) Audience members, including two Boy Scouts who attended as part of a requirement for the citizenship in the nation merit badge, listen to speeches during a meet-the-candidates event sponsored by the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) Sam Granato, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks during a meet-the-candidates event sponsored by the Ogden?Weber Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

OGDEN -- They might not be allowed to vote for another six years, but Chris Adams and Brandon Weaver knew it was important for voters to attend Candidates Night on Wednesday at the Ogden City Center.

"They'll know who to vote for and who's better and who will make changes," Adams said.

The pair of Boy Scouts from Troop 18, who attended the meeting as part of a requirement for the citizenship in the nation merit badge, were among the crowd in the first-floor auditorium, listening to 22 candidates speak as part of the night's event put on by the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce.

While the 12-year-old boys agree it is important for the candidates to tell voters what they'll do if elected, the two also said candidates need to do more than just make promises.

"It's good if they don't say they're going to do stuff and then not do it," Weaver said.

Wednesday's turnout, however, was not as large as some had hoped it would be. The majority of the audience, estimated at 100 to 150 people, was made up of either candidates or friends and family of the candidates.

That sight upset some of the people who came wanting to know what the candidates plan on doing if elected Nov. 2.

"There wasn't a whole lot of people here who are going to vote," said a man who said he lives in Ogden but did not want his name in the newspaper.

"There needs to be more people informed and know who they're voting for. Are they voting for them for their name, or are they voting for what they're going to do?"

His wife, who also didn't want to be identified, was pleased that the candidates took the time to speak.

"I think it's very informative, and they got right to the issues of today," she said.

Lou Shurtliff, a former state representative for District 10 who lives in Ogden, was excited to listen to the candidates as she decides who to vote for.

"I have a love for this country and a love for this state, and I think good people need to be elected," Shurtliff said.

"The only way you're going to find out who the best people are is by listening to them and their ideas. Several of the candidates tonight spoke in a different manner than just 'I support education' or 'I support economic development.' "

Several candidates spoke of personal experiences, whether it was what made them decide to enter politics or what their child's schoolteacher told the candidate at a parent-teacher conference earlier that day.

It's experiences like that, Shurtliff said, that really help voters know who they are voting for.

"I think, too often, people are voting party rather than really listening to candidates, and these forums are great for that," she said.

Voters were not the only ones who benefited from Wednesday night.

Ben Pales, the Democratic candidate for state representative in District 6, said he wishes there were more nights like Wednesday for two reasons.

"As a newcomer to politics, it's really hard to get your name out," he said, "and No. 2, I'd like to see more people involved in these types of things."

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