Chamber to host East Grand Forks State of City speech, Grand Forks candidate forums Wednesday, May 20

It starts at noon May 20 with a broadcast of East Grand Forks Mayor Steve Gander's annual update on the city. Then, at 4 p.m., Grand Forks School Board candidates will participate in a limited-viewing forum, followed by a forum for the Grand Forks mayoral candidates at 5 p.m.

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The candidates running for Grand Forks mayor, as well as those hoping to earn a spot on the Grand Forks School Board, will participate Wednesday, May 20, in an online forum sponsored by the Grand Forks-East Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce.

The event will culminate a full day for the chamber, which also is hosting East Grand Forks Mayor Steve Gander's annual State of the City speech.

Gander's speech will be held in an online broadcast at noon. Those interested in watching can see it via live stream at

While that event will be widely broadcast, the chamber's mayoral and school board forums later in the day will be presented to a smaller audience.

At 4 p.m., many of the Grand Forks School Board candidates will participate in a forum held by the chamber via the online website Zoom. And at 5 p.m., Grand Forks' four mayoral candidates will meet via Zoom.


Chamber CEO Barry Wilfahrt said he plans to send an email web link to those in his Chamber of Commerce database, and the first 100 who sign in at the time of the event will be allowed to see the forum live. It will be the third time the mayoral candidates have met in a public forum or debate format. Running for the office this year are Art Bakken, Brandon Bochenski, Mike Brown and Robin David. Brown is the incumbent, while Bochenski and David also are on the ballot. Bakken is a declared write-in candidate.

"Historically, (the chamber-sponsored events) are held so we can get to know what their philosophies are, so voters can make informed decisions," Wilfahrt said. "We'll ask a few more questions that relate more to the local business climate. We'll focus a bit more in that direction."

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