Candidate forum Tuesday night

Published 9:57 pm Monday, October 15, 2012

Beaufort County residents will have an opportunity to hear from state and local candidates in November’s general election at a forum Tuesday night.
Organized by the Washington Daily News and the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, the Beaufort County Candidate Forum starts at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Building 8 at Beaufort County Community College.
“The Beaufort County Candidate Forum offers voters an additional tool to learn more about those running for local office,” said Ashley Vansant, Washington Daily News publisher.  “We encourage the public to take advantage of the opportunity by attending the forum.”
Kellie Harris Hopkins, director of the Beaufort County Board of Elections, will serve as moderator of the event.
Ann Cherry, secretary of the Beaufort County Democratic Party and who plans to attend the forum, said attending the forum should be a priority for voters in the county.
“I definitely think people should be informed of what candidates stand for,” said Cherry. “That’s always a well-attended, well-run forum.”
Featured local races include state Senate District 1, N.C. House of Representatives District 3, N.C. House of Representatives District 6, Beaufort County Board of Commissioners and Beaufort County Board of Education.
It’s possible some candidates may not show up for the forum.
“When it comes to local representation, this is a critical time,” Vansant said. “The people’s voice in the process of local government is perhaps never more powerful or significant than on election day.”
There isn’t any one candidate that Cherry looks forward to hearing. She said the forum would provide insight into each of the participating candidates.
“When they have a limited amount of time to speak, they have to choose which issues are a priority and focus on them,” Cherry said. “It’s always interesting to see how they prioritize the issues.”
Charles Hickman, chairman of the Beaufort County Republican Party, is looking forward to hearing from state candidates as well as the candidates he has not had the opportunity to hear speak before.
Each candidate will be allotted time for a brief introduction followed by a question-and-answer period.
Hickman knows exactly what he would ask each forum participant, if given the chance.
“I guess the one thing that would pertain to all of these races is what do they plan on doing about budgetary matters, especially with the current economy?” Hickman said.
He encourages the public, voters or not, to attend the event.
“Everyone needs to educate themselves on these political races,” Hickman said. “This is our future.”