Board of Realtors will host City Council candidate forum

Published 7:27 pm Thursday, October 19, 2017

A historic district preserved; investments in economic development; a city with restaurants and entertainment venues; a waterfront that serves an entire community; parks — these things and many more make Washington quaint and charming, and a real draw from those in search of a smaller-town way of life.

The Washington-Beaufort County Board of Realtors members know this: part of their job is showing prospective buyers the benefits of moving to Washington. And it’s why the organization is hosting a forum for all candidates running for office in the City of Washington.

Tuesday, at 7 p.m., WBCBR is inviting the public to the Turnage Theatre to learn more about the 11 people running for Washington City Council, as well as Mayor Mac Hodges, who is running unopposed.

According the Tomp Litchfield, WBCBR’s political action committee chairman, with so many people running for the five city council seats available, residents need to find out more about the people who will be making decisions that affect not only those who already live here, but those who are considering a move to Washington.

“People want to come to Washington and be a destination for fine living. It’s not just the realtors that want that, it’s everybody that lives here. … I suspect there are so many others that are in the same boat that don’t know the candidates and how they feel about issues,” Litchfield said. “It’ll give them a name and face and platform — what we’re hoping is it will give our voters a strong choice.”

This is not the first forum WBCBR has hosted. They did the same for the municipal elections two years ago, but turnout was disappointing, according to Litchfield. He said he hopes the change in event time from morning to evening means more people will attend.

Though the forum is being hosted by the local Board of Realtors, Litchfield said the questions posed to the candidates concern everyone who lives in the city.

“There are some questions that will directly impact real estate, but, really, most of it is about our city and how it can be improved,” Litchfield said. “We want to educate the general public as (well as) ourselves.”

Litchfield said the way to find the candidates that will work to improve the city, creating a prosperous, ever expanding community is to ask the important questions.

“Hopefully, we will have the best candidates on the list that will be representing our town,” Litchfield said.

National Spinning CEO Jim Chesnutt will be moderating the event. All candidates for Washington City Council have been invited: incumbent council members Doug Mercer, William Pitt, Virginia Finnerty and Richard Brooks, former council member Gil Davis, William “Bill” Clark, Robert Sands, John Butler, Roland Wyman, Gil Alligood and Gerald Seighman.

For Litchfield, and the WBCBR as a whole, the forum is the organization’s civic duty.

“We’re spending the money in order to educate the voters, and we’re trying to do this for the community,” Litchfield said.