More candidate forums announced

COVINGTON - Three additional opportunities for the public to meet the candidates prior to the July 31 primary have been announced.

The Voters League of Newton County will host a "meet and greet" from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Newton County Historic Courthouse, located at 1124 Clark St. Candidates for federal, state and local office have been invited. According to Flemmie Pitts, an event coordinator, candidates will introduce themselves and give a short presentation. There will not be a question and answer session.

Pitts said the goal is to educate the public about who the candidates are and what the districts are, given the changes that have taken place due to reapportionment. A map showing district boundaries will be on display. Pitts said he did not yet have confirmation as to how many candidates would be there. The plan is to have congressional and state candidates, and those for Superior Court judge and sheriff, speak from 9 a.m. to noon, take an hour break for lunch, and then hear from candidates for Board of Commissioners chairman and district commissioners, school board and coroner.

The event will be taped and aired on the local public access channel at a later date.

The Newton County Democratic Party will host a candidates forum for Democratic candidates at 7 p.m., Tuesday July 10 at Washington Street Center, located at 2104 Washington St. Candidates will give a two to three minute introduction and will be asked questions posed by a moderator, said First Vice Chairman Andre Cooper. State and local candidates have been invited, he said.

Also, the Newton County Republican Party will host a forum for GOP District 5 candidates at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 12, at Covington Woman's Club located at 1116 College Ave. SE. Republican Chair Delia Fleming said no format has been established yet.

In addition to these recently announced forums, tonight, 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 St. 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 St. Candidates for Board of Commissioners chairman and the BOC and Board of Education district seats have been invited.

"Because there will be so many candidates 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.