Candidates vying for seats on the Stephenville city council and school board will have a chance to spread their message during a political forum slated to begin at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 24, at the Virginia Bond Auditorium.

The event, sponsored by the Empire-Tribune and Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, will feature the race for mayor, three contested city council places and one contested school board place.

July Danley, president and CEO of the Chamber, said the forum is meant to provide the public an opportunity to learn more about the candidates on the May 10 ballot.

“The Chamber’s legislative committee will prepare the format and questions based on input from our members and community residents,” Danley said. “We encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to meet the candidates and hear their views on important issues.”

Fourteen candidates are vying for the various seats. Five are running for mayor including Joe Cude, Nancy Hunter, Mark Murphy, Barry Ratliff and Pat Shelbourne.

Before the round of questions begin, each candidate will be given a brief opportunity to introduce themselves and tell the audience why they are running for their respective office. Candidates in each place will then be asked a series of questions that will have been given to them prior to the event.

Other candidates who have been invited to participate include:

• City council Place 4 - Chris Gifford, Russ McDanel and Don Zelman.

• City council Place 6 - Virginia Abel and Alan Nix.

• City council Place 8 - Sara Boen and Scott Evans.

• School board Place 7 - Doug McLemore and Dr. Ruth Ann Stephens.

Readers can submit questions for consideration by emailing them to or by mailing them to The Stephenville Chamber of Commerce at P.O. Box 306 in Stephenville. The submission deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, April 11.