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Candidates forum mixes business with government
by Sarah Cooper
May 06, 2010 | 4581 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Justice of the Peace candidate Scott Pearson pitched himself to anyone who would listen, including Bruce Demarest of Advanced Networking, at Tuesday's Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce candidate forum.
Justice of the Peace candidate Scott Pearson pitched himself to anyone who would listen, including Bruce Demarest of Advanced Networking, at Tuesday's Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce candidate forum.
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SPARKS – When business owners mingled with candidates for office Tuesday at the Holiday Inn, one topic seemed to dominate the conversation: the economy.

“The most prolific issues we have to deal with are economic issues,” said Derek Thomas, one of the owners of Hutchinson Business Valuation, Inc. “How do these people plan on getting the economy going?”

Thomas was one of many who circulated around booths at the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce’s candidates forum Tuesday.

“The challenges facing our economy are steeper than they have been in the past,” said Doug Kurkul, CEO of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce. “At the chamber of commerce, we really believe that our people understand what it takes to make payroll … the (candidates) also need to hear from the people.”

More than 32 campaigns were represented at the forum, each with a booth and campaign materials at hand.

Kurkul said he hoped each area business person came away from the forum with a better understanding of the electoral process and a collaborative exchange with the candidates.

“The candidates forum provides an opportunity for the public to meet the candidates informally and discuss key issues,” Kurkul said.

He added that the event was brought back by popular demand from the chamber’s members.

“I want to know how they are going to get the jobs back here,” said Al Sheakly, a chamber member who works for Reno Luxury Home Magazine.

Sheakly works for his son, who runs the magazine, and said that a failing economy, especially in the housing sector, has hurt business.

“The real estate market is really hurting my son’s magazine,” he said.

In an April Associated Press poll, respondents overwhelming ranked the economy as their first concern. About 92 percent ranked the economy as extremely important to them while topics such as health care, terrorism, the federal deficit and energy policy ranked lower, respectively.

“Interest in the mid-term elections is at peak levels this year,” Kurkul said. “The business community, and voters in general, are concerned about job creation and sustainable economic growth. They’re scrutinizing candidates’ platforms more carefully this year.”

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