Chamber Launches (un)forum & Candidate Survey
Primaries matter: The business community engages in the 2018 primary elections
CHAPEL HILL, NC: Orange County, NC is overwhelmingly one party, which means the winner of the May primary is often the winner of the November general election. Primaries matter. Today, to educate our members and the community, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce launched the (un)forum and candidate survey.
“Primaries matter here in Orange County and we are committed to keeping our members informed about who is on the ballot, what’s at stake, and when to hit the polls,” said Katie Loovis, Vice President for External Affairs, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce.
(un)forum: Instead of a traditional, in-person candidate forum, the Chamber leveraged a new video platform to make it simple and convenient for candidates and voters to connect.
Through this virtual candidate forum, powered by Chapel Hill technology start-up shineBIG (www.shinebig.com), the Chamber asked candidates to respond to one simple question: Tell us why you are running for office and what you will do to make our community a great place to start and grow a business.
Their video responses are being shared through email and social channels to the Chamber’s entire network of 1,250 member organizations, representing 80% of the workforce in Orange County. All candidates who filed for Orange County Board of Commissioners, Board of Education, Sheriff, Clerk of Superior Court, or relevant state and federal races were invited to participate in the (un)forum.
“Traditional candidate forums require voters to be in a certain place at a certain time,” said Tola Oguntoyinbo, Co-Founder, shineBIG. “The (un)forum uses shineBIG’s e-platform to grab viewers’ attention and hold it. We will connect, inform, and engage candidates and voters through the entire election cycle.”
Survey: There is an especially important race with five candidates vying for two key seats this primary election: The Orange County Board of Commissioners District 2 and At-Large.
County Commissioners have a significant influence on residents’ daily lives, as their decisions influence the budget and property tax rates as well as land-use and development policies.
The Chamber surveyed the candidates for County Commissioner on 13 issues, gauging their positions on economic development, the light rail, taxes, OWASA, and more. While every issue is nuanced, our Chamber members requested that candidates provide a yes/no response, which helps illuminate subtle differences. Their responses are accessible here; voters are encouraged to use this survey as a starting point and take the time to learn more about each candidate and their positions before going to the polls.
Government Affairs Committee: Both the (un)forum and the survey are part of a larger portfolio at the chamber to better inform and engage the business community in government affairs and advocacy. The Chamber’s Government Affairs and Advocacy Committee, made up of 20 diverse leaders representing a variety of industries, shape the polices and initiatives, informed by the Chamber’s policy platform and action agenda. Most recently, the Committee hosted “Eggs with Elected Officials + Candidates,” yet another way for Chamber members and candidates to connect. This event was part of the 2018 Policy Series, sponsored by Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, Durham Tech, and Silverspot Cinema. Further, the Committee manages the 2018 Election Hub, which is a one-stop-shop for all-things 2018 local elections.
About the Chamber: With more than 1,250 local business and nonprofit members, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce is a diverse leadership organization that serves and advances the business interests of our community and builds a sustainable community where business thrives.