Incumbent Cortland Mayor Scott Steve will face his challenger, Luke Stevenson, in the only forum the League of Women Voters will have this year, because so few candidates responded to a request to take part in forums.
Stevenson and Steve will meet 11 a.m. Oct. 7 at the Elks Lodge on Groton Avenue in Cortland.
The League of Women Voters canceled all other forums for other races in Cortland County because candidates did not respond, said league co-President Kim Cameron. Of the 22 candidates in contested races across Cortland County races, only nine responded – Steve and Stevenson were the only two who responded in the same race.
“We won’t have a forum with just one person up there,” Cameron said. “That would be political and we are a non-political organization, so we do not do that. What that effectively does is cancel the forums.”
Meanwhile, Stevenson and Steve are planning their presentations.
“I think the biggest thing that people should know about me is that I want to have the conversation with everyone – I want to be able to improve quality of life here in Cortland, and make sure that everyone's needs are heard and that everyone feels represented,” said Stevenson, an Emergent Party candidate.
“I want them (voters) to recognize all the hard work that has been accomplished so far, and what the plans will be in the future to continue with improvements made for the quality of life for the city of Cortland residents,” said Steve, the Republican candidate.
The other seven candidate who responded to the request to take part in a forum were all Democrats, Cameron said: incumbent Cortland alderpersons Kathryn Silliman for the 2nd War and Mary Clare Pennello for the 3rd Ward; and Cortland County Legislature incumbents Beau Harbin and Susan Wilson of Cortland, and newcomers Donald Chu of Cortland, Brian Horan and Reed Cleland of Homer.
“I think this is a good way to put people side-by-side and see what person is going to address their needs the best,” Steve said.
“The forum is important,” Stevenson said. “It's one of the few ways voters actually get to know and understand who they're voting for.”