LAKE PLACID — The Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, Inc. will be streaming a political forum on FaceBook Live beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday. The event will include local candidates for county races and the Florida House of Representatives District 55 seat.
Due to COVID-19, the public is not invited to attend but is encouraged to watch via the organization’s social media page. A team of professionals will be brought in to stream the footage and also archive it to a YouTube channel. HCCGA Executive Director Ray Royce will be the moderator. Royce said the videos will be archived by race, so viewers can choose what race they are interested in.
“Because of COVID, there has been an inability for candidates to have events,” Royce said. The HCCGA has not hosted any political forums in the past few election cycles but felt this year was key because of competitive races.
“In our county this is the first time in may years that there have been this many county commissioner seats available, House District 55 being contested and a very contested Clerk of Courts race.”
This event will give the candidates a safe place to present their message and answer questions. The evening will be divided by races with the Clerk of Courts up first. The next forum will be the county commissioners and the final forum will be for the two Florida House District 55 candidates.
Each forum is expected to last about 45 minutes with a short break in between for set up. Candidates will have an opportunity to give up to a three-minute opening statement and a two-minute closing statement. The candidates will be asked the same 10 race-appropriate questions. They will have up to 90 seconds to answer.
Royce said the questions were formulated by him in advance and not shared with the candidates ahead of time. The questions will pertain to the office the candidates are running for and whether they make policy. He also said that because HCCGA is hosting, there will be a few agricultural-related questions as they relate to policy making.
HCCGA states they are non-partisan, non-profit and not affiliated group.