Candidates forum next week

A County Candidates Forum will be held at the Walker County Courthouse on Feb. 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by the Huntsville Woman’s Forum and the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce. The forum will be comprised of candidates running for contested offices in the Walker County primary election. The contested offices up for election are district judge, county judge, precinct number two commissioner and district clerk.All candidates participating in the upcoming election are invited to attend, but only those in contested races will be allowed on the forum. The forum is open to the public and admission is free.The candidates are Mickey Evans and Frank Robinson, both running for county judge, Robert Earl Autery and Larry Brown for precinct commissioner, Judy K. James and Robert R. Hardy for district clerk and Linda Mclain and Kenneth Keeling for district judge. Both Democrat and Republican candidates will be present at the meeting, but all eight candidates running for this year’s contested offices are Republicans. Each candidate will be given a limited time to explain his or her individual platforms, followed by a question and answer session. Everyone in attendance is welcome to question the candidates.Candidates Forum Chairwoman Mary Novark said this is the first year the Woman’s Forum is co-sponsoring the forum with the Chamber of Commerce. The Woman’s Forum is a community service organization and has conducted an independent forum for the past seven years. The Chamber of Commerce also held its own candidate forums in previous years. Dee McFarland, president of the Chamber of Commerce said the two forums were merged so both the candidates and public wouldn’t have to attend multiple meetings in such a short time.”When everyone collaborates, then we can make one great forum for everyone to attend,” she said.Novark said the forum is nonpartisan and is meant to inform the public about the different candidates. The forum is also intended to increase voter turnout.”We don’t entertain any derogatory statements towards the candidates,” Novark said. “Questions are only geared toward their ability if they get elected.”McFarland said the forum will also help inform local businesses about the candidates.”We think it’s really important for the businesses in our community to make an informed vote when they go to the polls,” she said.McFarland said the courthouse was chosen as the location for the meeting because of both its facilities as well as its political value.”It’s the home of county government and it seems to be a logical place and we have a good courtroom to hold it,” she said.The Woman’s Forum and Chamber of Commerce also plan to host a joint election candidate forum before early voting in the fall.The Candidates Forum will mark the start of early voting for the primaries, which is being held at Fire Station Number Two due to renovations at the courthouse. Early voting runs from Feb. 25 through March 8, and Election Day is March 12.

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