Chambers County Republican Club to hold candidate forum

Published 10:30 am Thursday, February 15, 2024

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The Chambers County Republican Club will be hosting a candidate forum for those running in the Mar. 5 primary election. It will take place at the LaFayette ALFA building on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. ET. Both the Republican and Democratic candidates are invited to attend.

“I feel strongly that the people needed to hear what both sides were I felt it was important that we invite the Democratic opposition,” said O’Neil Shaw, President of the club. “We want an informed electorate.” 

The unopposed candidates will not participate in the forum, however they are invited. Shaw will introduce the unopposed and “let people see their faces.” All candidates are asked to stay for 30 minutes after the event to answer questions from the public. 

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The candidates that are running opposed in the primary will participate. They will all give an introductory statement. After, the Q&A portion will begin. Each candidate will submit a small number of their questions. 

The moderator will be Steve Wheeler, the former manager of WCJM radio station and current ALFA insurance agent. He will pick one or two of the submitted questions and ask those questions to the candidate who submitted the question and their opposition. Wheeler will also have questions he will ask.  

“We don’t call it a debate because we don’t want to debate. We want to hear the position of the candidate,” Shaw said. 

It hasn’t been confirmed which candidates will attend, but Shaw said the club has reached out to all the local candidates up for office. The candidates running opposed, who will be on the primary ballots are Republicans Paul Story and Troy Davis for Probate Judge; Republicans Dr. Casey Chambley and Dr. Sharon Weldon for Chambers County School District Superintendent; and Democrats Jeffrey Finch and Frederick “Reco” Newton for District 1 CCSD School Board president. 

Shaw hopes for a big turnout, with the public leaving the event feeling more informed about the local elections. 

“The probate judge’s race, at one time or the other, will affect every family in Chambers County, through property or through death … the impact the [school board] elections can have on our children going forward is unbelievable because we’re in the middle of a big change,” Shaw said. “People need to be informed so they can make the most educated decision when they cast their vote.”