USM Gulf Park will stage candidate forum

The League of Women Voters Mississippi Gulf Coast is hosting a political forum for Mississippi’s 4th District congressional candidates at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Hardy Hall Ballroom on the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.

Southern Miss students are invited to participate in the forum that will offer students and district residents an opportunity to hear the candidates’ views and ask them questions, the league said in a press release.

The candidates who have agreed to participate are Democrat Mark Gladney and Libertarian Richard Blake McCluskey. Incumbent Rep. Steven Palazzo will not be at the forum. He is hosting more than 400 high school students at his annual Youth Leadership Summit at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College before going to Ellisville to participate in the Jones County Junior College championship ring ceremony on Thursday night, his spokeswoman said.

Palazzo also will skip a debate at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Thad Cochran Center at USM in Hattiesburg. Instead, Palazzo will welcome the sergeant major of the U.S. Marine Corps to South Mississippi before attending his son’s junior varsity football game, his office said.

Gladney and McCluskey plan to participate in the Hattiesburg debate.