By Rich Pollack
Highland Beach residents will have a chance to meet the candidates running for Town Commission during a March 7 forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County.
Set for 6 to 8 p.m. at the town’s public library, the forum will have a question-and-answer format — as opposed to a debate — with each candidate having an opportunity to respond to the same question.
Voters are being asked to submit questions in advance either by bringing written questions with them or by filling out cards once they arrive at the library prior to the discussion.
“We want residents to come with questions so the candidates can hear what their concerns are,” said Marcia Sherwood, the league’s vice president who coordinates candidate forums.
Voters will select one candidate for a full 3-year term and elect a new commissioner to serve the one year remaining on the seat previously held by Peggy Gossett-Seidman, who resigned to run for state representative.
Running for the 1-year term
• Maggie Chappelear, 66, a real estate broker and former educator who serves as co-chair of the town’s Natural Resources Preservation Board. She has been a Highland Beach resident for 38 years.
• Judith Goldberg, 77, an attorney for 35 years and a mediator for 27 years, who served as a town attorney in Patterson, New York. She has been a resident for eight years.
• Peter Kosovsky, 67, a retired radiologist who also has a background in private land development. He is a five-year Highland Beach resident.
Running for the 3-year term
• Donald Peters, 76, a sporting goods store founder and former police officer in Yorktown, New York, who served as a town supervisor there from 2007 to 2009. He is a 21/2-year resident.
• John Shoemaker, 76, a former business executive in the high-tech industry and the incumbent town commissioner since 2020 who previously ran unopposed. He is an 18-year resident of Highland Beach.
During the forum, each candidate will have two minutes to give an opening statement and two minutes for a closing statement.
In between, candidates will field questions asked by the moderator, league President Kathi Gundlach.
The questions, which will be reviewed by league members, will be sorted by category to avoid redundancy and will focus on issues over which the town has jurisdiction, Sherwood said.
Topics expected to be addressed are: the overall safety of the town and the establishment of a new fire department; state-mandated recertification of buildings taller than three stories and the state’s reserve fund requirements for condo associations; taxes; environmental preservation, and the upcoming repaving of State Road A1A and accompanying drainage improvements.
Doors to the community room where the forum will take place will open at 5:30 for residents wishing to submit questions, Sherwood said. Anonymous questions will not be accepted.