FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly candidates faced off last night in the annual Interior Taxpayers Association forum.
The ITA event is the first forum of the municipal election cycle.
Although several candidates were absent, organizers said participation by Assembly hopefuls and audience members was up from last year.
The conservative tax-focused group saw questions from the audience about the tax cap, air quality, junkyards, and commercial marijuana.
Several of the candidates offered opinions that the assembly is heading in the wrong direction, but the feeling wasn't universal.
Candidate Jerry McBeath says he knows ITA organizers might not have agreed with his stances, but he wanted to make his voice heard.
Moderator Lance Roberts says that although the candidates have varying levels of experience, he's confident they would do a good job if elected to the assembly.
Jerry McBeath, Borough Assembly Candidate:
"There were several who were not here who probably resemble my positions more closely. And they may have stayed away because this activity has a kind of a reputation. But I've been here before. And as I said at the beginning, I was here to explain my positions. I didn't think they would end up endorsing me. But if you're a candidate, then you shouldn't be afraid of speaking to people who disagree with you."
Lance Roberts, Forum Moderator:
"Well, I have no doubt that once they get into the job they will jump right into it. I think everyone up there seemed like a pretty motivated individual and I think any one of them would work pretty hard if they got the job."