Forum draws wide range of candidates

CONYERS — At least 25 candidates in a number of local and state elections have confirmed participation in an April 26 political forum at Antioch A.M.E. Church.

The forum is sponsored by the Rockdale County Democratic Party, along with the National Council of Negro Women Inc. of Rockdale and Newton; and the Chi Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

“We really want to inform people, to give people options to learn about the candidates,” said Rhonda Taylor, president of Rockdale-Newton NCNW and executive board member of the Rockdale Democratic party. “This is the first year that most of these state races have had opposition since 2010.”

The forum will begin at 1:30 p.m. and use a Q&A format followed by closing remarks from the candidates. Attendees will also be able to speak one-on-one with candidates or their representatives. Those interested will also have an opportunity to sign up to volunteer for candidates.

“Our forum is also designed to benefit the candidates in that they will be able to recruit volunteers for that last leg of the campaign,” Taylor said.

Candidates who have confirmed their participation include:

• U.S. Senate: Democrat Steen Miles and Republicans Derrick Grayson and Art Gardner. In addition, a representative for Democrat Michelle Nunn will participate.

• Governor: Republican John Barge and Democrat Jason Carter;

• Lt. Governor: Democrat Connie Stokes;

• Secretary of State: Democrat Doreen Carter;

• U.S. Congress: Democrat Tom Brown and a representative for Democrat Congressman Hank Johnson, incumbent;

• State School Superintendent: Democrats Denise Freeman, Rita Robinzine and Valerie Wilson and Republican Mary Bacallao;

• Insurance Commissioner: Democrats Keith Heard and Liz Johnson; incumbent Republican Ralph Hudgens is reportedly trying to arrange his schedule so he can attend.

• Labor Commissioner: Democrat Robin Shipp;

• State House District 91: Incumbent Democrat Dee Dawkins-Haigler and Democrat Diane Adoma;

• State House District 113: Incumbent Democrat Pam Dickerson;

• Rockdale County Board of Education: Post 1 incumbent James McBrayer and challenger Alberteen Young;

• Rockdale County Board of Commissioners: Post 2 Republican incumbent JaNice Van Ness and Democrats Doreen Williams, Josie Dean and Arlan Gibson.

The forum, slated to run from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., will be moderated by radio personality Rashad Richey and educator Debbie Hillman.

Antioch A.M.E. Church is located at 1790 Ebenezer Road, Conyers.

This story was edited on April 15, 2014, to correct the list of sponsors.