Our candidate forums are our main program focus each year for members. During the past 2 years, we hosted 16 forums featuring candidates seeking positions on the Dallas City Council, Dallas School Board and the Dallas County Community College District’s Board of Trustees.  In 2007, we hosted 14 forums in 28 weeks due to the number of contested races on the ballot that year.  This year we could approach a similar number with six open seat races on the May Dallas City Council ballot, along with three Dallas ISD Trustee seats up for election in May.

As an organization, we don’t take a stand on candidates or issues.  Rather we ask members to be as active as they can in local campaigns. The candidate forums help our members see and hear the candidates up close and personal in forums designed to achieve the maximum amount of give and take between candidates and members. As an organization, we are interested in issues, not sound bites from the candidates.

During the non-campaign times of the year, we host issue forums for members on topics of local interest.  In 2013 and 2014, some of the topics we have covered included:

  • A look at why civic and political involvement is so low in Dallas and Texas, featuring the director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.
  • Two “Running and Governing at the Local Level” seminars focused on key issues associated with running for local office in Dallas and governing at the local level.  Each program featured two panel discussions — one on how to run for local office, another on how to govern at the local level — followed by a closing lunch featuring a former Mayor of Dallas.  In 2013, former Mayor Laura Miller was our guest speaker; in 2014, it was former Mayor Tom Leppert.
  • An issue forum on the proposed Home Rule initiative in Dallas featuring a panel of local education experts on what a home rule district might look like in Dallas.
  • A look at how Dallas is perceived around the world featuring as our guest speaker former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Dallas Regional Chamber President Jim Oberwetter.
  • Taking a look at key economic indicators in Texas, featuring the president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Richard Fisher.
  • An update on Dallas from the Mayor of Dallas.
  • An update on the Dallas ISD from Superintendent Michael Miles.
  • An update on Dallas County from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

In addition to the above candidate and issues forums, members also receive a regular newsletter and news clipping service on key local issues facing the three institutions we track.