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Candidate open house sees low traffic, but positive outcomes

By Staff | Oct 21, 2016

Last Saturday’s candidate open house produced by the North Dakota Community Alliance saw little community participation.

However, for those who did attend, candidates from every political category were available to meet and discuss with voters.

“The candidates all told me they liked the format,” Stephanie Steinke, NDCA chairperson, said. “They appreciated the freedom to move around, come and go, and talk freely. They appreciated that it was open to all, and everyone was treated fairly.”

The open house gave voters a chance to talk with and get to know candidates, not only as political entities, but as everyday citizens.

Candidates discussed their platforms, answered questions about their campaigns, and got to know each visiting voter individually. Some candidates brought their families and friends with them, and others gave out candy and other goodies.

Refreshments were also served, including coffee, apple cider, cookies and cupcakes made by The Farmer’s Wife Cakes.

“The people who did show up said they enjoyed it and learned a lot,” Steinke said. “[They] appreciated that they could sit and have real time to talk.”

The NDCA does plan to hold future events in the same manner, but at a different time. “The scheduling of these things is difficult,” Steinke said. “Timing is hard. Turnout was really low, but we expected that as all new things take time to catch on. I think there is value in it, even if it takes time to catch on. Part of our message is that politics is for everyone and the candidates work for you.”

Candidates drove from as far as Grand Forks in order to participate in the open house. “I was really happy that so many different candidates thought Rugby and District 14 was important enough for them to stop,” Steinke said. “We are really one of the few small towns that could pull this many candidates. Our location makes us an easy hub, and we should take more advantage of it.”

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