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Candidate’s Forum: Format, Rules and Decorum
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Why would the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce host candidate forums?


As an organization whose mission is to advocate for business and economic development, the Chamber has a keen interest in knowing what is happening in government. But it goes deeper. The Chamber is made up of citizens who live and work in the area. This is home; our members want to know who their elected officials are and where they stand on issues that affect us all. 


The Chamber is not a political action committee. We sponsor candidate forums because we believe people have a right to know what their candidates for public office say about issues that affect our communities. We provide the forums as a public service, and we are privileged and proud to play a role in the democratic process.

The Chamber does not endorse candidates. We will take positions on broad policy issues, but we don't support individual candidates in elections. We all benefit from an open exchange of information and ideas.  

A candidate forum allows candidates seeking public office to express their views openly so community members can understand their positions and make informed voting choices. 

Format: Moderator 

  • Audience question-and-answer session.
  • An unbiased event moderator will pose questions to the candidates through written questions submitted by the public on an official forum form, which will be provided to the public prior to event.
  • The event moderator will maintain order and decorum for the event.
  • Each candidate will have an equal and fair opportunity to express his or her position on issues.
  • A timer will be used to indicate end of time allotments. A bell will indicate that the candidate’s time has elapsed.

General Forum Rules:

  • Order of appearance within each group of candidates will be chosen at random or alphabetical order and will be reversed for closing comments.
  • Opening statements of 1 to 2 minutes will allow candidates to introduce themselves.
  • Topics will be a wide range of issues of general interest to the public. The Chamber typically will submit two questions to each candidate.
  • No interaction among candidates, audience members or other program participants is allowed.
  • Answers to questions on issues will typically be limited to 1 minute, and each candidate will be given the chance to answer.
  • Each candidate will be given 1-2 minutes for closing statements to wrap up and cover any issues not yet discussed.
  • No substitutes or stand-ins for candidates are allowed, and no pre-recorded statements will be accepted.

Proper Decorum: 

·         No candidates, board members and event organizers will be allowed into the venue wearing campaign buttons for their candidacy or any candidate at the event.

·         The forum is not a debate. No interaction or debate among candidates will be allowed.

·         No direct interaction will be allowed from the audience. The audience cannot ask questions. Only the moderator will be allowed to interact with candidates.

·         All interaction by a candidate will be through the event moderator.

·         There will be no “winner” declared by the moderator or event sponsors.

·         “Grandstanding,” speaking off topic, or off-color remarks will be called out of order by the moderator.

·         No candidate or candidate supporters will be allowed to hand out materials, advertise, or otherwise solicit inside or outside the day of the event in any capacity.

·         All political demonstrations are prohibited

·         Cell phones should be turned off as a matter of courtesy

·         No unauthorized videos are allowed because of FCC rules

·         Placards, signs, posters, packages, suitcases or other large objects are prohibited

·         Weapons of any kind are prohibited except when carried by law enforcement officers

·         Attendees shall respect the rights of others and shall speak in a civil and courteous manner

·         Any violation of this code of conduct or forum rules will be cause for removal


The candidate forum is meant to inform the citizens of our community and create an opportunity for community building. If all candidates adhere to the rules everyone will benefit through increased visibility and general interest in the community.

Click here for more protocals and procedures