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Three forums taking place ahead of primary

COVINGTON - Several political forums are scheduled prior to the July 31 primary.

The newly formed Mansfield Women's Club will host the candidates for Board of Commissioners District 1 and sheriff from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, at Mansfield Community Center. The group, which was formed in January, is primarily concerned with helping those in need through fundraisers and donations.

"We're not political at all. We're charitable. We were asked to host this and we said absolutely, we want to educate our public and be a part of anything positive going on in our community," said Mansfield Women's Club President Terri Skelton.

Local attorney Anthony Sandberg will be the moderator for the evening and the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions. Both District 1 candidates, John Douglas and John Strauss, have committed to attending, as well as the Republican candidates for sheriff, Philip Bradford and Bill Watterson. Skelton said Democratic incumbent Ezell Brown has yet to confirm.

Also, on Thursday, June 28, the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce and The Covington News will sponsor a candidate's forum from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Center, located at 2104 Washington Street. All candidates with opposition in the July 31 primary have been asked to participate. Questions will be posed by moderators and the audience may submit questions in writing.

Finally, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 19, Smart Growth Newton County will host a forum at Washington Street Community Center, located at 4138 School Street. Candidates for Board of Commissioners chairman and the BOC and Board of Education district seats have been invited.

"Because there will be so many people there, there's not going to be questions and answers," said Smart Growth President Jonathan Paschal. "We're going to send the candidates questions via email and they're going to respond to us. Then we'll publish those answers on the (Smart Growth) website and in print for anybody in attendance." Smart Growth's website is www.smartgrowthnewtoncounty.com.

Candidates will make short speech the night of the event and there will be an opportunity for them to speak one-on-one with those in attendance.