Thursday forum to ‘educate and energize’

Published 8:11 pm Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Democratic candidates will be on hand for the first local forum of the election season.

Hosted by the Democratic Women of Beaufort County and the Beaufort County Democratic Party, the forum will be held at the Washington Civic Center gallery Thursday from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

The purpose of the forum, according to Mary Ellen Tyrrell, president of Democratic Women of Beaufort County, is to inform voters about who’s running for office in advance of the May primaries.

“I wish we could have all of them, but this is just to prepare our membership about the candidates coming up to the primary on May 8,” Tyrrell said.

Candidates who do face primaries include those running for Beaufort County sheriff (William Chrismon, Petre Franks and Al J. Whitney), as well as those running for N.C. House District 79 (Bryson Jones and Jerry Langley). However, all local Democratic candidates have been invited: incumbent District 3 N.C. Senator Erica Smith; Beaufort County Clerk of Court Marty Paramore; Ed Booth and Randy Walker, both candidates for Beaufort County Board of Commissioners; and E.C. Peed, who is running for Beaufort County Board of Education.

Each will be given five minutes to introduce themselves, then the floor will be opened for a maximum of three questions from the audience, Tyrrell said. More questions will be fielded depending on available time.

“We’re hoping to be able to put them all in one place, and ask pertinent questions as to what they feel is going on on a state and local level,” she said.

Tyrrell said the forum is an extension of outreach efforts by the Democratic Women of Beaufort County, which has hosted programs on issues such as health care, the environment and voters’ rights for the past year in a bid to educate voters.

While the forum features only Democratic candidates, it’s open to all voters.

“The primary group of focus is going to be Democrats, but I’m sure there are Independents out there that are interested in listening to some of the candidates that are running in November,” Tyrrell said. “We strongly want to get the vote out for not just the primary, but the election in 2018. Our purpose is to not only educate but energize.”