Saratoga County

Ballston, Charlton candidates meet in forum at BH-BL tonight

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School seniors Carter Rana and Anthony Marchesiello will be moderatin

The students will be asking the questions for once.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School seniors Carter Rana and Anthony Marchesiello will be moderating a forum for the candidates for town positions in Ballston and Charlton.

The idea for the event, which will be held at 7 this evening at the high school library, originated with the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Business and Professional Association, according to school district spokeswoman Christy Multer.

“They have tried to hold meet-the-candidates night for the past few years and have had very, very small turnout for that and not a great venue with which to hold it,” Multer said. “This year, they got the idea to do it in cooperation with the high school students.”

Multer, who is on the BPA board, contacted the social studies department and Student Government Organization co-advisers Renee Tolan and Mike Mosall. They brought the idea to students and it took off from there.

A total of 15 candidates for supervisor, Town Board, clerk, highway superintendent and assessor in Ballston and Charlton have been invited. Rana, the SGO president, and Marchesiello, an SGO delegate, sat down with the teachers and club advisers to outline the rules and format of the forum.

At the beginning of the event, the moderators will hand out cards on which audience members can write down questions for candidates. The moderators will chose which questions to ask. The students said they believed it was important for the community to participate.

After each candidate makes an opening statement, they will move into the question-and-answer portion; each candidate will receive two minutes to respond, according to Marchesiello. “Essentially, we give every candidate an equal amount of time,” he said.

The students have been studying to get ready for tonight’s event.

“In my government class, we watched the Republican candidates debate. That got pretty heated,” Rana said. “I learned the basic format of the debate system.”

Participants must adhere to the time limit, Marchesiello said. “If they don’t, we’re going to politely move on to the next candidate to make it fair for every candidate.”

Marchesiello said he feels a tremendous sense of pride that his school was asked to host this event.

“It’s very important for young adults coming up into the world to have a grasp on their political system, especially on the local level.” He said young people should be informed about the issues so when they turn 18, they are not “just blindly going into a polling station and vote for the names.”

Rana agreed that people need to be more informed.

“I think if you were to ask the average teenager what the town council or town clerk does, they would have no idea what they do,” he said. “After doing this process, we know that their roles are important in our community.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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