Time to Talk: Candidates hold first debate

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 7, 2004

DEMOPOLIS-Around 30 residents from all across Marengo County came together on Thursday night to listen and ask questions to the various candidates at Majo’s Activity Center for the Alabama New South Coalition Marengo County Chapter’s Educational and Political Forum.

Candidates in attendance were Trezzvant Hopson, Calvin Martin, and George Baldwin all of which are running for Marengo County Commission District Four, Greg Griggers and Barrown Lankster, who are running for 17th Judicial Circuit District Attorney, and Albert Turner Jr. and Coby Little, who was filling in for Artur Davis are running for 7th U.S. Congressional District Representative.

Marengo County Circuit Clerk Rusty Nichols spoke first during the evening about the changes and new policies concerning the absentee ballots. Nichols said the biggest change was now they are asking for a copy of an ID.

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“They are making it harder and harder to vote absentee now,” Nichols said.

The candidates spoke next starting with the race for the Marengo County Commission District Four beginning with Trezzvant Hopson of Dixon Mills. Hopson said he was concerned about district four because nothing is currently being done. He also said people can’t hardly even get to their homes in Dixon Mills due to the roads.

“I’ve been out talking to the people and they are really lacking and I will try and get something done,” Hopson said.

After Hopson finished, Calvin Martin of Thomaston was the next candidate to speak to the crowd of people. Martin said there is a lot of work that needs to be done in district four as well as Marengo County. He also said he will do the best he can if elected into the commission.

“I know Mr. Baldwin has done some things, but it’s time for some new ideas and to give other people a chance,” Martin said.

Finally after Martin finished, incumbent George Baldwin was last to speak in this race. Baldwin said there have been a lot of problems in Marengo County while he has been in office and when he leaves office there will still be problems, but he can work out these problems. He also said Marengo County is at a crossroads and change is on the way and experience is needed to make sure district four gets the funding its due.

“These rural town are drying up fast and if we don’t do something for them they are not going to survive,” Baldwin said.

The next two candidates who spoke during the forum were current District Attorney Greg Griggers and his challenger Barrown Lankster. Griggers said he is running this race on his record, a record that shows him cleaning up the court dockets in the county court systems. He also said he has served the people of the district effectively and has restored fairness to the system.

“All this week I’ve been in court and every case was less than one year old,” Griggers said.

He finished speaking and then it was Barrown Lankster’s turn to talk. Lankster said while he was District Attorney he saw a lot of juvenile African-American in jail and he wanted to change this, so he started having teen summits at a lot of the schools in the district. He also said he stands behind his record and the cases he tried.

“The District Attorney’s office is to serve and prosecute, but it is also an office of getting out in the community and making a difference,” Lankster said.

The final two candidates to speak were Albert Turner Jr. and Coby Little for Artur Davis, who was in Washington D.C. and couldn’t make the event. Turner said this race is a race about the truth and about who is telling the truth to the people of the Seventh Congressional District. He also said infrastructure is the key to getting the Black Belt to growth.

“He tells you about how he secured $14 million dollars for Highway 80, that’s a lie because the new six year federal highway hasn’t even passed Congress yet,” Turner said.

Coby Little was the last speaker for this event and he said Davis has been a friend to the City of Demopolis and that he’s been here more in past six months, then any other Congressman in the past 16 years. He said this election is about leadership and about whom the people believe can have a vision for this area and the district.