The St. Croix Valley Gifted Chapter of Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented (MCGT) has canceled plans for a 2020 Family-Friendly Candidate Forum with candidates for Stillwater Area School Board. Their online candidate questionnaire, a regular feature of that event, is moving ahead and now available at www.stcroixvalleygifted.net.

“COVID–19 created safety concerns for all involved, especially considering our previous events took place at the Teddy Bear Park Carriage House in downtown Stillwater. The larger slate of candidates and available technology access also were factors we needed to consider,” explains chapter president Margaret Thomas. “The candidate questionnaire is a routine part of our forum, so it made sense to keep that intact.”

Candidate responses to the questionnaire will stay online through Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 3. In addition to candidate information, their site includes links to Minnesota voter resources and help for people who want to view candidate replies in a different language.

St. Croix Valley Gifted first hosted a school board candidate forum in 2014, with over 80 people in attendance. Held traditionally Sunday afternoon, the event is open to the entire community.

“From the beginning our goal was to host a candidate event that allows voters who, tied to work or family constraints, can’t attend weeknight events to interact with candidates on the ballot,” Thomas says. “We saw an opportunity to create an event that caters to families who have conflicting obligations and our format ensures that the community chooses what questions the candidates answer.”

Positive reaction from candidates and community participants, along with strong traffic at the chapter website during election season, encouraged St. Croix Valley Gifted to repeat the event. The chapter looks forward to hosting the inperson forum again in the future.

St. Croix Valley Gifted will not endorse candidates for elected office in 2020, continuing past practice.

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