HUNTERSVILLE – The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce’s Huntersville candidate forum on Oct. 17 will be without the town’s mayor.

Jill Swain left Oct. 13 to make a one-week trip to China to meet with investors interested in bringing businesses to Huntersville. The SoZo Group, with whom Swain met in May during a U.S. Southern Mayors trip, invited Huntersville’s three-term mayor to return to discuss further business development with potential investors.

Swain spent Oct. 15 in an all-day meeting with investors who are looking to relocate their businesses, according to Town Manager Greg Ferguson, who added the trip was on short notice but is valuable to the town’s development.

“There’s quite a bit of interest in U.S. development,” he said. “Companies have looked around. We had the 3D printer company (Nanjing Zijin-Lead Electronic Co. ltd) visit in September. This continues the relationship building with China. For companies investing in an area, it’s not just about the site. It’s also about the community.”

Commissioner Ron Julian complimented Swain’s efforts.

“This is a great economic development trip for Huntersville,” Julian said. “Her work on business development speaks volumes about our mayor. At a critical time during campaign season, she’s out there promoting Huntersville.”

Swain’s Oct. 16 itinerary included a visit to Beijing Auto, a Chinese car company. Swain will have a statement read by moderator Jerry Hancock during the Huntersville forum, which takes place 7-9 p.m. at the Huntersville Town Hall, 101 Huntersville-Concord Road.

Jim Puckett, Swain’s opponent in the mayoral race, will be on hand and will answer questions.