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RACINE — The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread is scheduled tonight to release conversations with the two candidates to be Racine’s next mayor.

Foundation staff members sat down with state Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, and 6th District Alderman Sandy Weidner in conversations mediated by Jennifer Pratt-Miles, a program manager at the Meridian Institute in Denver. The interviews contributed to the Johnson Foundation’s Resilient Communities initiative.

“For nearly 60 years, The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread has served different perspectives and brought ideas together to build deeper understanding and build bridges to new solutions on issues and topics that matter to us,” said Roger Dower, the Johnson Foundation’s president. “Our conversations with the mayoral candidates were designed to allow them to share their thoughts on a wide range of topics related to resilient communities.”

For three consecutive Wednesdays in June, the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread brought together some 120 community leaders from across eastern Racine County. The resulting initiative, Resilient Communities, aims to unite the seven communities east of Interstate 94 to mull the future of the region and foster more cooperation.

The video and podcast interviews with the mayoral candidates will be posted on the Johnson Foundation’s Facebook page at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

According to Cynthia Georgeson, who's involved with the project, the candidates were told the conversations would last up to an hour, but that Mason used more time than Weidner for his answers.

Dower said that the conversations helped with the Resilient Communities initiative’s goal to create “broader dialogue on what resiliency could mean for our Racine community.” Releasing them in podcast form will give Racinians a chance to hear the candidates viewpoints “at a time and place that’s convenient to them,” Dower added.

Dower also hopes the conversations will encourage voter turnout for the Oct. 17 election.

“A key measure of a community resilience is voter participation,” he said. “Our hope is that these conversations not only reach more people than a traditional debate, but also encourage them to vote in this election.”

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