As the November elections draw closer, candidates are reportedly finding it harder to connect with their audience with the pandemic still at large throughout the community. To help smooth the road between the candidates and the people they want to serve, Lake Charles Black Business Owners are hosting “Conversations with the Candidates” on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the Ward 3 City Marshal candidates scheduled on Sunday evening from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Tasha Guidry, Founder of LCBBO, spoke this week about the event.
“I actually consulted on a couple of local campaigns and I found that ... the candidates are having a hard time right now, due to Corona, being able to reach their constituents,” explained Guidry.
“This way the community would still be able to reach out to the candidates but in a safe way ... they’ll be able to make an informed decision on who they want to vote for,” Guidry said.
Each candidate will have a 25-minute segment to present on the livestream, and can use their time any way that they desire. The event will be streamed on the LCBBO Facebook page and it will also be uploaded to their YouTube channel within 48 hours for those who may not be able to watch a specific candidate. Candidates will also be able to share their segment on social media platforms. Sunday’s participants won’t be livestreamed, but instead will be filmed via Zoom and the footage uploaded to YouTube.
All local candidates in Lake Charles were invited to participate, regardless of party affiliation. Only two candidates, Judge Mike Canaday and Congressman Clay Higgens, did not respond, making the total of 18 candidates speaking throughout the day.
“We have had a lot of feedback from the people that are candidates that are running in Sulphur and they feel left out, but of course we’re in Lake Charles, so maybe after debates we can look at doing it for the Sulphur candidates as well because we want to try to accommodate everyone if we can,” said Guidry. She explained that if there is a group or organization in Sulphur that wishes to coordinate something like Conversations with the Candidates they can contact the Lake Charles Black Business Owners’ for guidance at email@example.com and she will try to help coordinate it.
Lake Charles Black Business Owners, Inc. is a business organization that Guidry and co-founder Nwora Fairley incorporated with another group in March of 2020. The group began as a Facebook group with a large following, but merged to start doing more good in the community together. “We decided that we could do more together than apart ... Our mission is to educate, empower and offer mentoring opportunities to those in the business community,” she said.
The organization did the Pay it Forward initiative for seven weeks when the COVID-19 pandemic began to close several businesses along with supplying meals to first responders and the nightshift, correction’s department and the dispatch and control employees at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office with meals from several of the “local, black restaurants” in town, explained Guidry.
Following the “Conversations with the Candidates” series, they will be participating in a debate series within the next few weeks and will be asking the community for questions via email beginning next week.
For questions call Tasha Guidry at 337-304-6978 or visit membership.lcbbo.org for more information.