The four candidates seeking election to the Oconee County Board of Education in November have agreed to meet in a virtual candidate forum via Zoom from 8 to 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 17.
The forum is open to the public, but those wishing to participate are being asked to register in advance.
Citizens also are being given a chance to submit questions to be posed to the four candidates.
Post 4 candidates Tim Burgess and Laura Ormes and Post 5 candidates Joan Parker and Michael Ransom will be given an opportunity to introduce themselves before responding to the questions posed.
Burgess currently holds Post 4 and is the Republican Party nominee in the race. Ormes is the Democratic Party nominee.
Parker is the Democratic Party nominee for Post 5, and Ransom is the Republican Party nominee. Incumbent Wayne Bagley is not seeking re-election.
The session will be recorded and available on the Oconee County Observations Vimeo site.
In addition, Michael Prochaska, editor of The Oconee Enterprise, has organized a forum for the three candidates in the District Attorney race that will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 1. The forum will be live streamed on the newspaper’s Facebook page.
Also, Fran Leathers, director Oconee County Elections and Registration, will take questions starting at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10 on voting options and procedures for the Nov. 3 election. The Zoom session is nonpartisan but is being organized by the Oconee County Democratic Committee. Registration for this meeting is required.
I have organized and will serve as host of the Sept. 17 Board of Education Forum. My wife, Ann Hollifield, will serve as co-host.
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Because capacity is limited, those interested in joining the Zoom session must register in advance at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/upIqce-orDojG9Ak5n0N7P7I20oQVf1a9EMT
Those who register will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Please submit questions you would like me to ask to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants also will have a chance to submit questions during the forum via the chat feature of Zoom.
I will summarize the forum on this blog after it takes place and embed the video.
Philip Ashford and Karen Hilyard also have agreed to assist remotely as the forum gets underway.
I have organized and managed candidate forums in the past and reported on them on this blog.
The Board of Elections is made up of five members, each of whom serves a four-year term.
Chair Tom Odom’s name will be on the ballot in November, but he has no opposition. I did not invite him to join the candidate forum so as to allow more time for questioning of candidates for the contested seats.
Board Members Kim Argo and Amy Parrish were elected in 2018.
Here is a brief introduction to the four candidates for the contested seats, based on information they provided on the qualifying documents.
Burgess, 1030 Buckeye Pointe, lists his occupation as retired from the University of Georgia. Burgess is 64 years old, has lived in Georgia all his life, and has lived in Oconee County for the last 21 years. He votes in the Athens Academy precinct.
Laura Williams Ormes, 1070 Rocky Branch Lane, lists her occupation as former analyst. She is 41 years old, has lived in Georgia for the last two-and-a-half years and in Oconee County for that same amount of time. She votes in the North Oconee precinct.
Michael Ransom, 1821 McRee Gin Road, lists his occupation as consulting forester. He is 38 years old and has lived in Georgia for three years and in Oconee County for three years. His voting precinct is Colham Ferry.
Joan Parker, 1100 Arborwood Ridge, lists her occupation as former demand side specialist. She is 54 years old, has lived in Georgia for 19 years and in Oconee County for 12 years. She votes in the High Shoals precinct.