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EFSC, Florida Today Hosting Candidate Forums

June 27, 2016

Eastern Florida State College and Florida Today will host a series of candidate forums at the college starting in August that will provide the public a front row seat on major issues in the 2016 elections.

The sessions will be held at the Melbourne Campus Auditorium and Simpkins Fine Arts Center on the Cocoa Campus, and include races for the Brevard County Commission, Brevard County School Board, Florida Legislature and U.S. Congress. The Melbourne Auditorium is in Building 4, with parking nearby in the Melbourne Campus southern parking lot off Titan Blvd. The Simpkins Center is Building 4 on the Cocoa Campus. Maps of both campuses can be viewed on the college website.

“The forums are a great opportunity to hear candidates exchange their views and for citizens to be part of the democratic process,” said college President Dr. Jim Richey. “We are proud to host them and welcome everyone to our campuses.”

The forums are free and open to the public and all college students, faculty and staff.

Most of the forums will be televised live on WEFS-TV and streamed online at Florida Today Opinion Page Editor and political columnist Matt Reed will be among the moderators.

The forums continue a partnership between the college, Florida Today and other community groups that began in 2004 and that have provided a debate platform for hundreds of candidates on the local, state and national levels during election years.

EFSC has also opened its doors to presidential campaigns on four recent occasions.

In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain both campaigned at the college during their race for the White House, with Obama holding a rally on the Titusville campus and McCain on the Melbourne campus.

In 2012, former President Bill Clinton and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich also brought the presidential contest to the college. Clinton campaigned for President Obama on the Palm Bay campus during the general election, and Gingrich campaigned on the Cocoa campus as a candidate in the Florida Republican Primary.

Joining the college and Florida Today as co-sponsors this year are the Space Coast League of Cities, Space Coast League of Women Voters and Brevard County BAR Association.

Here is the forum schedule:

Aug. 4: Melbourne Campus Auditorium, 7-9 p.m. (Televised)
•    Florida Senate, District 17
•    Florida House, District 52

Aug. 9: Melbourne Campus Auditorium, 7-9 p.m. (Televised)
•    Brevard County Commission, District 5
•    Brevard Clerk of Courts

Sept. 14: Simpkins Fine Arts Center, Cocoa Campus, UPDATED TIME: 6-8 p.m. (Not televised/no livestream)
•    Brevard Circuit Court Judge, Brevard County Court Judge

Oct. 13: Melbourne Campus Auditorium, 7-8 p.m. (Televised)
•    Brevard County Commission, District 3, Southeast Brevard

Oct. 20: Simpkins Fine Arts Center, Cocoa Campus, 7-9 p.m. (Televised)
•    Brevard County Commission, District 1, North Brevard
•    Brevard County School Board, Districts 3 and 4 (four run-off candidates)

The campaign season will end with live, televised Election Night coverage Tuesday, Nov. 8 from the WEFS studio with Matt Reed and Eastern Florida State College political science professor Chris Muro providing results and analysis.

For more information on the forums, contact John Glisch, the college’s Associate Vice President for Communications, at or (321) 433-7017.