Candidate forum scheduled for Thursday night

Opponents on Nov. 4 ballot expected to outline issues, their goals at event

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 21, 2008 - Voters will get to ask candidates on the Nov. 4 ballot about their candidacy Thursday, Oct. 23, during a forum hosted by the Political Enlightenment Group.

The nonpartisan group will be hosting the event, which is open to the public, at Best Western Trail Dust Inn's Heritage Hall. The door will open at 6 p.m., when people can meet and chat with politicians. The forum will begin promptly at 7 p.m.

The event offers candidates of all political parties an opportunity to communicate their views and goals. It also gives voters a chance to ask questions candidates about issues of concern.

While questions regarding national issues aren't restricted, the forum does encourage a more concentrated focus on district, state and county issues, depending on the office each candidate seeks. The more locally focused the issues the better, as far as PEG is concerned.

State Rep. Mark Homer, the Democratic Party incumbent, will not attend due to a scheduling conflict. PEG will allow a statement to be submitted and read on his behalf, as is common practice. His Republican opponent, Kirby Hollingsworth, has confirmed his plans to attend.

All local candidates are invited to the forum. Others who have confirmed include a Sulphur Bluff ISD board of trustees candidate; Precinct 3 Commissioner and Democrat incumbent Don Patterson and Republican challenger Ronald Reed; Precinct 1 Commissioner and Republican incumbent Beth B. Wisenbaker and Democratic Party challenger John W. "J.W." Ragan; Democrat incumbent Sheriff Charles "Butch" Adams and Republican challenger Norman R. Sanders; and 62nd Judicial District Judge and Democratic incumbent Scott McDowell and Republican challenger Erwin A. Cain

Those running unopposed have also been invited and will be subject to questions from the public. Those elected officials include 8th Judicial District Judge Robert Newsom, a Republican; and Democratic incumbents 8th Judicial District Attorney Martin Braddy, Hopkins County Attorney Dusty Hyde Rabe, Precinct 1 Constable Roger "Tex" Maynard, Tax Assessor-Collector Debbie Pogue Jenkins and Precinct 2 Constable Larry Argenbright.

Questions will be confined to relevant political issues, and aren't to delve into personal issues. Anyone who strays into areas deemed inappropriate will be stopped by PEG moderator Harry Lewis, who can request anyone who does not follow the general rules to leave the forum. In the event a person become unruly, a law enforcement officer will be present to escort that person off the premises. Fortunately, in the nearly 15 years PEG has hosted forums, that's never been an issue that had to be tested.

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