The Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce announced its upcoming mayoral debate between incumbent Bryan Nelson and his challenger, Commissioner Kyle Becker.
The debate is scheduled for 6pm on January 31st at the VFW/Apopka Community Center, and while the moderator has been finalized, the Chamber is not announcing who it is.
In 31 days, Nelson and Becker will shake hands and come out swinging. For the past few months, both candidates have been on a collision course leading up to this head-to-head meeting. Things have been relatively quiet between the two campaigns, but that is likely to change in the debate.
The winner of the election gets the center seat on the Apopka City Council, the keys to a $130-million budget and a city that is in the midst of a booming population and economic growth that seem limitless.
And the winner of this debate is likely to cruise into election day with a lot of momentum.
Despite keeping the moderator for the debate confidential, the questions they will ask are coming from a very public source - the residents of Apopka.
"We invite you to help us determine the questions the moderator will ask both candidates," the Chamber statement reads. "This is your chance to hear the important issues and priorities the City of Apopka faces. This event is free to the public, but registration is required."
The deadline to submit questions is January 26th.
Becker is looking forward to using this debate as a springboard to election day.
"I’m glad the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce has organized a mayoral debate for our community, and I am very excited to participate," Becker said. "A forum like this allows our voters and community to hear directly from the candidates while we debate and defend our ideas and records in real time. Equally as important to me as sharing my vision for Apopka and the leadership I will provide is an opportunity for me to directly address various misrepresentations made of my campaign by my opponent."
Nelson wants to use the debate to present his plan for the next four years in Apopka.
"As a former Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce President, I appreciate having the opportunity to debate the direction that our city will be taking," said Nelson. "I am excited to highlight our accomplishments and share my vision for our great city of Apopka."
Cate Manley, CEO, and President of the Chamber, is looking forward to hosting the debate, and bringing Apopka residents into the process.
“We are looking forward to this event due to the high number of community members who have requested that we host it," said Manley. "We are asking for the community to take part in developing the questions that will be asked during the debate. Sponsorship opportunities are also available."