Candidates to take the stage at political forum

Published 4:34 pm Monday, February 15, 2016

Chilton County voters will have an opportunity Tuesday to hear candidates for local office answer questions at a political forum.

Several local offices—including Chilton County Commission seats, district court judge and district attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit—will be included on the March 1 Primary Election ballot.

The Primary Election will allow political parties to narrow down candidates for the November General Election.

Twelve candidates for Commission are vying for the Republican nomination.

All were invited to participate in the forum, which will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Chilton County Senior Connection, located at 304 Park Plaza in Clanton (Fred’s shopping center).

Incumbent commissioners include Allen Caton, Joe Headley, Greg Moore, Joseph Parnell and Shannon Welch.

Other Republican candidates include Jimmie Hardee, Steve Langston, Matt Mims, Shane D. Ogle, Jason D. Pierce, Jeremy Michael Smith and Jay Smitherman.

Chamber Director Janice Hull said the organization has sponsored forums in recent years that included candidates for state representative, revenue commissioner, superintendent of education and Chilton County Sheriff.

“We feel that a time and place to hear from candidates is important to our voting process,” Hull said. “Senior Connection graciously agreed to use of their facilities. We’ll have plenty of parking and a stage area, and we are expecting a crowd in excess of 150.”

Chilton County Probate Judge Bobby Martin will moderate the forum.

The Chamber committee that organized the event include Van Forrester, who communicated with the candidates and prepared questions, Jason Calhoun, Kevin Corley and Stephen Dawkins.

Forrester said questions were requested from the public through the Chamber’s website and Facebook page.

Questions were shared with the candidates four days prior to the event.

“There will be three rounds of questions for the candidates running for the Commission, where two of the six questions will be alternated among those participating,” Forrester said. “Candidates will be given 2 minutes to answer each question. There will be a timekeeper who will hold up a card when 30 seconds are left, and candidates will be cut off at the timer.”

While they won’t be taking questions, candidates for district attorney and district court judge will be given 3 minutes each to introduce themselves and give a message to those in attendance.

District attorney candidates are Incumbent Randall V. Houston and Casey Biggs.

Candidates for district court judge are Angie Collins-Mayfield, Ali Upchurch Garrett and Chris Speaks.