Current mayor to moderate candidate forum

As the moderator of "Meet the Candidates" night at the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center at 6:30 p.m. tonight, Blackfoot Mayor Mike Virtue will be posing questions about the future of the city to the six men who want his job.
Virtue, who is not running for re-election, will address mayoral candidates Rick Bigler, Dan Cravens, Paul Loomis, Carlos Martinez, Carlos Mercardo and John Hoobler.
All Blackfoot City Council candidates are invited to the forum as well. Incumbent Chris Jensen, Andy Hasselbring and Kenneth Ashcraft are vying for Seat #1. All other seats are unopposed.
Among the issues expected to be addressed by the candidates are: the need for an overpass/underpass over the railroad tracks, landscaping issues, maximizing urban renewal opportunities, working with residents to beautify the city, updating the city's swimming pool and drawing new jobs to the area.
Virtue said that he intends to be fair and objective as the moderator and "will not single out any candidates on any particular issues."
"Meet the Candidates" night is sponsored by the Morning News and the Blackfoot Chamber of Commerce. The public is encouraged to show their civic pride by attending the meeting and learning about the candidates and the issues facing Blackfoot's future.
"Attendees will be able to hear from the candidates about what they believe our local issues are and what they can do to promote the general welfare of the Blackfoot community," said Tish Dahmen, executive director of the Blackfoot Chamber of Commerce.
A final candidate forum will be held at the Blackfoot Elks Lodge (123 N. Ash) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. While everyone is invited to this forum, it is particularly geared toward youth and first time voters. The moderator of this forum will be Charles Jensen, manager of statistics and planning at Basic American Foods in Blackoot.
The general election will be on Tuesday, Nov. 5 with polls open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Absentee balloting and home bound balloting are available by calling the Bingham County Clerk's office at 782-3164.