League of Women Votersto sponsor candidate night

By Debbie Kosinski

Elections for the DeKalb School Board are coming in November, so at 7 p.m. tonight, all are welcome to meet the candidates on a one-to-one basis.

The League of Women Voters of DeKalb County is sponsoring a “Meet the Candidates Night,” at Clinton-Rosette Middle School, 650 North First St., in the commons area.

The five school board candidates are: John Rey, Mary Lee Cozad, Pat Brown, Suzanne Lambrecht and Joan Petros. All candidates will be attending tonight and will participate in a question and answer session, which is expected to last no longer than 50 minutes.

The questions for the candidates are to be collected from the attending audience. The addressed candidate will then have one minute to respond.

Anticipated issues to be focused on by the candidates are: curriculum, the managing of finances, the re-defining of divisions of school districts, how present grouping of grade levels into schools should possibly be changed and whether test scores are true indicators of the capabilities or limitations of school systems.

Joan Frank, voter service chair of the DeKalb County League of Women Voters, pointedly said, “This is a chance for the voters to meet the candidates and ask their own questions.”

The League of Women Voters is not new to offering this kind of exposure for candidates. Maureen Russell, publicity chair of the DeKalb County League of Women Voters, remarked that “Meet the Candidates Night” is traditional for most elections, statewide and locally.

The organization tries to encourage voting. It does take positions on certain issues, but will never back a candidate. The organization has a respected reputation, and supports an issue only after a study and consensus has been taken on it.

“The league is the oldest, nonpartisan organization in the nation and is devoted to good government,” Russell said about the nationally prestigious organization she has held membership in for over 25 years.

In the past, the organization has taken stands on issues such as environmental protection and child welfare.

The league branch of DeKalb County has made its own local achievements. Last year, voter registration drives were conducted for NIU students during the national elections.

In the spring, the league branch of DeKalb County sends lobbyists to Springfield for a statewide convention to decide what topics will be given priority in the upcoming months.

The League of Women Voters was formed in the 1920s by the women who actively fought for the right to vote. Today, membership is open to all women and men who are registered to vote in the United States.