More than 80 people turned out at the Oconee County Library tonight to ask questions of the four candidates running in the special June 21 election for the open House District 113 seat.
The questions covered a wide range of topics, from the future status of SR 316 to the candidates’ stand on the recently passed Georgia immigration bill.
Democratic candidate Dan Matthews said he would have voted against House Bill 87, which is viewed by critics and supporters alike as a tough state law on immigration.
Republican candidates Alan Alexander, Sarah Bell and Chuck Williams said they would have voted for the bill.
Alexander and Bell said the bill was “imperfect” but still would have gotten their support. Williams said he would have supported it “reluctantly.”
The special election, for which early voting is underway, was called to fill the vacancy in the 113th District seat because of the resignation of Republican Hank Huckaby.
Huckaby has been appointed chancellor of the University System of Georgia.
If no one gets a majority on June 21, the two top candidates will go into a runoff on July 19.
All of the candidates would like to see improvements in SR 316.
Williams said he would consider making it a toll road. Matthews and Bell said they opposed that. Alexander said it was probably the only way the road would be improved, but he didn’t think it would happen.
The forum, the first of two for all four candidates, was organized by Russ Page and me.
Candidates asked the questions directly of the candidates, after being recognized by Page. I kept time so all of the candidates had the same opportunity to respond.
Another forum is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on June 16 at the North Oconee High School on Hog Mountain Road. That forum is being organized by the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce.
Tim Bryant from WGAU radio will moderate.
The forum tonight lasted for a full two hours. I had to upload it in a low resolution format, but it is available on my Oconee County Observations Vimeo site.
It also is embedded below. If you click on the start icon below, you will need to allow a bit of time for the video to download.