Confused about all of the candidates running for office and where they stand on the issues that concern you?
Here's an event that may enlighten you and make your decision a bit easier come Election Day.
Bell Shoals Baptist Church Worship Center, 2102 Bell Shoals Rd., Brandon, is hosting its 15th bi-annual Candidate Forum Thursday, July 12.
According to Jeff Lukens, a member of the church's Community Issues Team, which is organizing the forum, all candidates for local, state and national offices have been invited to attend the event, with 45 candidates confirming their attendance.
"We'll have candidates from all parties for school board, judiical posts, county commission, the Florida House and Senate and U.S. Congress represented at the event," said Lukens. "We're expecting up to 1,000 people in the community to come out and hear what the candidates have to say."
Bell Shoals Baptist Church has been offering the forums on election years since 1984 in an effort to educate voters and help them make informed choices, said Lukens.
He said the forum is designed to allow the audience to compare candidates vying for office. All the candidates have been asked to fill out a questionnaire and their answers will be available online as well as for those in attendance.
In addition, each candidate will be allowed two minutes to speak to the audience about issues important to his or her campaign.
This year’s forum is dedicated to the memory of James W. Pope, the former chairman of the Community Issues Team, forum coordinator and United States history teacher at Greco Middle School. Pope was killed in a car accident in October 2010. He was 33 years old.
Prior to the start of the forum starting at 7 p.m., candidates have been invited to set up tables with campaign literature and meet with voters starting at 5 p.m. in the church's Welcome Hall.
"This will give the candidates a chance to interact with voters one on one before the forum begins," said Lukens.
Bill Bunkley of WTBN-AM (AM 570 & 910) will broadcast his Drive Time show from the Welcome Hall from 4 to 6 p.m. Afterward, Bunkley will serve as the forum host.
Although camera crews will not be permitted in the Worship Center, a live feed will be available while the forum is in progress. In addition, accommodations will be available for members of the media to interview candidates and bloggers will have space available to work while they watch the event.
For more information, email 2012CandidateForum@bellshoals.com or visit the forum's Facebook site.
Bell Shoals Baptist Church is located at 2102 Bell Shoals Road in Brandon, Florida.