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Two local nonprofits are partnering to give residents another chance to hear Killeen City Council candidates running in the May 4 election.

The Village Political Candidate Forum will be 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, April 8 at 324 East Avenue D, according to JoAnn Foster, the organization’s director of civic engagement.

The Village United started in Killeen two years ago to give a political voice to the lower social-economic demographic of Killeen, Foster said.

The forum is a joint effort with Texas Black Pages, a directory for African American owned businesses in the area, founded by Army retiree Ronnie Russell.

“Those running for places of power are on the ballot, if you’re on the ballot, we need to know,” Russell said. “The power of our vote is important. Our vote matters.”

Shirley Fleming has already been confirmed as the winner of the District 1 seat since she ran unopposed, Foster said, so she will not be speaking at the forum.

“It’s going to be all of the candidates for City Council districts 2, 3 and 4,” Foster said. “They have all confirmed that they’ll be in attendance.”

Will Baumgartner, Mellisa Brown and incumbent Debbie Nash-King are the candidates for District 2.

Sandra Blankenship, incumbent Jim Kilpatrick and Tolly James Jr. are running for District 3.

Incumbent Steve Harris and Brockley King Moore are on the ballot for district 4.

“They will all have a chance to speak,” Foster said “Each one of them will have a chance to introduce themselves and answer the questions we’ve come up with.”

Tavares Bethel, executive director of The Village United, will officiate the forum.

Many are already aware of the candidates’ platforms through the forums hosted by the Killeen Daily Herald and LULAC Herencia Council 4297, Foster said, but the April 8 forum will give residents one final chance to make sure their values align with the council candidates they intend to vote for.

“It will be very cut and dry,” Foster said. “It’s important because it gives everyone an opportunity to hear the candidates talk about their platform and what they intend to do for the city of Killeen.”

To register for the free event visit texasblackpages.eventbrite.com. Questions for the candidates can be emailed in advance to villageunited254@gmail.com.

Early voting is April 22 through April 30 before election day on May 4.

“Politics is something I’m personally passionate about,” Foster said. “I wanted to make sure The Village United participated in making sure that everyone who might have missed the past forums gets an opportunity to hear from the candidates before they vote.”

More information about The Village United can be found on Facebook or by phone at 512-763-2026.

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