The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, Greater Mankato Growth and the Greater Minnesota Partnership are hosting a Minnesota Gubernatorial Candidate Forum in Mankato next Thursday at the Verizon Center.

Confirmed participants are Republican Jeff Johnson and Democrats Erin Murphy, Lori Swanson, and Tim Walz. GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty was also invited.

The forum begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. GMG officials say it will focus on issues important to Greater Minnesota.

The event will be livestreamed at and televised live in the Mankato area on KTV. It will be rebroadcast on FOX 12 Mankato from 1:00 – 2:30 pm on Saturday, July 28th.

Greater Mankato Growth has also planned candidate forums for those running in the August 14th primary election for City of Mankato Mayor & City Council and Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners.

The first will include Blue Earth County Commissioner candidates, on Tuesday, July 31st. Katie Boone, Tamera Marie Hansen, and Colleen Landkamer are running for the District 1 seat; in District 2, incumbent Vance Stuehrenberg is unopposed.

On Wednesday, August 8 all candidates for City of Mankato Mayor and City Council Wards 1, 3 & 5 have been invited to participate in the GMG forum. Honey Burg, Bukata Hayes, Toby Leonard, Najwa Massad, and Nick Tracy are running for Mayor. Karen Foreman is the lone candidate in Ward 1; incumbent Mark Frost is being challenged by Fardousa Jama, and Aronn Oakland in Ward 3. Ward 5candidates include Jessica Hatanpa, Tyler Meihak-True, and Taryn Surdy. KTOE’s Annette Weston will co-moderate the forum.

Both events take place at Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Centennial Student Union and GMG officials say free parking is available in the sunken visitor lot directly across the street from the building.

Each forum will begin at 6:30 with an open house style meet & greet with the candidates, followed by a moderated candidate forum that begins at 7:00 p.m.