College Republican Club hosts mayoral forum

Thomas Hansen

Mayoral candidates Kunka, Widmyer, and Souza take questions from the College Republicans Club members.

Thomas Hansen, News Editor
October 21, 2013

It was another day at the races for the Cd’A mayoral candidates, but this time at a new venue: North Idaho College.

The mayoral candidates were invited by the College Republicans Club, the hosts of the forum, on Oct. 14.

Candidates Steve Widmyer, Joseph Kunka, and Mary Souza cycled through questions posed by the club members for nearly two hours.

Formed this year, this is the second event that the College Republicans Club hosted.

“It was very informative to the public, and especially to the college, because nobody even knew there was a mayoral race and now they know their positions on every issue,” Luke Kilcup, 19, Pre-Law, Gig Harbor, Wash., chairman of the club, said.

The club wanted to involve NIC in local politics, instead of just state and federal politics.

Kilcup said that they had no problem getting the mayoral candidates involved.

“They were all very excited to come and talk with the college,” Kilcup said. “They were all very eager and responded very quickly.

A myriad of questions were posed to the candidates  from their economic stances to their future plans, and even their opinions on more national topics like marijuana legalization.

Members of the audience were also given opportunity to ask their own questions by writing them down on slips handed to the hosts.

The format of the forum was well received for mayoral candidate Joseph Kunka.

“I thought the format was wonderful. The moderators did a great job, the questions were asked very clearly, very concisely,” Kunka said. “I thought it went very well. I’m impressed! It’s the best one I’ve been to thus far.”

Students reacted positively to the forum as well.

“I thought it was great. I thought the questions were great, and I thought how it was setup was awesome, and that the Republicans here at NIC did a great job.” Reina Rodriguez, 17, Political Science, Yakima, Wash., said.

This was the first forum Rodriguez attended in person.

Student Christopher Howard, 27, Elementary Education, Post Falls, said, “It brings a face to people that are running, lets you know what they stand for.”

Turnout for the event was high, with seating remaining packed for the majority of two hours.

Kilcup said that they would like to bring in more politicians in the future, including senators and representative.

The College Republicans also invited a Kootenai County sheriff to talk about justice and politics.

“Any races we can get our hands on, anything that we can get the students voices out for,” Kilcup said.

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