Youth-4-Change hosts Congressional Candidates Forum for Pohnpei candidates

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By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
February 27, 2019
Pohnpei, FSM—On March 5, voters will decide who will occupy each of the 14 seats in the FSM Congress. In Pohnpei, “Youth 4 Change” sponsored a congressional candidates forum on February 27 in the Pohnpei State Conference Room.
The conference room was packed, with the majority of attendees being students. State radio Commissioner Peterson Sam said that the radio station had intended to air the forum live but could not establish a sufficient internet connection in time to do so. He said that the radio station did record the event and aired the forum several times after it was completed.
Of the 10 candidates running for Pohnpei’s four congressional seats, only two were unable to participate.
The forum was divided into two sections. At 11:00 in the morning, President Christian and Senator David Panuelo answered the moderators’ prepared questions. They then took some questions from the attendees but only from students.
At 2:00 in the afternoon, six of the candidates for the two year seats in Pohnpei’s three election districts participated in the forum. Senator Ferny Perman and Dr. Merlynn Abello-Alfonso participated as the candidates for District 1. Herman Semes, Jr. and Quincy Lawrence participated as the candidates for District 2. Senator Dion Neth and Berney Martin were unable to participate. Senator Esmond Moses and Marstella Jack participated as the candidates for District 3.
The Youth-4-Change organizers prepared four questions for the candidates that were presented by moderators that had been chosen because they would be neutral. The candidates had a set amount of time to answer the questions.
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Each of the candidates was first asked to define their platforms. They were each then asked what plans they have to provide opportunities for FSM’s young people. Incumbents were then asked why people should vote for them and what their plans are to improve communities. Challenging candidates were asked why people should vote for them over other candidates and what their new plans are to help FSM communities. The last question from the moderators regarded the end of ongoing financial provisions under the Compact of Free Association with the United States. Moderators wanted to know the level of knowledge that the candidates possessed regarding the Compact and what their plans are to prepare the FSM for the end of ongoing financial provisions in 2023.