Tuesday, October 14, 2008

State Economy a Concern at Oconee Candidate Forum

Small Audience, Lots of Questions

A relatively small audience generated a lot of questions at the Candidate Forum at the Oconee County Library in Watkinsville Monday night. Concerns about the state economy and its impact on Oconee County were reflected in many of the queries.

Bill Cowsert and Sherry Jackson, candidates for the 46th Senate District, responded to questions from 7 to 7:40 p.m. and were followed by Tom Leach, write-in candidate for the chairmanship of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners.

Tom Breedlove and Rich Clark, running for Post 5 of the Oconee County Board of Education, took citizens questions during the second hour of the Candidate Forum, which was organized by Citizens for Oconee’s Future, Citizens for South Oconee County, Friends of Barber Creek, Friends of the Apalachee and Oconee Citizens for Responsible Growth.

Approximately 25 persons were in the room during the session, as some persons left and others entered.

A summary of the questions and answers of Breedlove, the Republican candidate, and Clark, the Democratic candidate, appears in today’s edition of the Athens Banner-Herald. The story also includes some of the interaction with Leach. The story did not mention that Cowsert and Jackson were at the meeting.

Cowsert, the Republican candidate, is the incumbent. Jackson is running as the Democratic candidate. Both are Athens attorneys.

Leach, a truck driver and former member of the Planning Commission, said he decided to run as a write-in candidate after Sarah Bell was defeated in the Republican primary for the BOC chair position. "I supported Sarah," he said.

Incumbent BOC Chairman Melvin Davis did not attend the Monday Candidate Forum, citing a conflict in his schedule.

Breedlove is a land planner with the firm Williams & Associates in Oconee County, and Clark is a faculty member in the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia.

The Forum was video recorded and is available at my Vimeo site (Senate and Cowsert) or Tony Glenn's Vimeo Site (Tom Leach).

Cowsert and Jackson are scheduled to appear at the Athens Press Club debate from 7-9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 27, at the Melting Point in downtown Athens. The debate will be broadcast live on WGAU 1340 AM.

Bobby Saxon, the Democratic candidate for U.S. House from the 10th District, will appear at a Press Club from 7-9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 20. Incumbent Republican Paul Brown has indicated he will not attend. That debate also will be broadcast on WGAU.