Mayoral field faces tough round of

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 10, 2004


From Staff Reports

The Demopolis Times and WAKA-CBS 8 News will host the second forum of the municipal election season this Thursday at the Demopolis Civic Center.

Email newsletter signup

This forum, which begins at 6:15 p.m., will only include candidates seeking the mayor’s seat and is scheduled to conclude by 7:45 p.m.

Jonathan McElvy, publisher of The Times, and Rob Martin, news director for WAKA-CBS 8, both said Thursday’s event is designed to involve potential voters in the campaign process.

“CBS 8 News is proud to be part of this important civic project,” Martin said. “We feel it is vital to the community to hold a forum where voters can play a key role in the democratic process.”

Last week, the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce held the first municipal forum for this year’s election, and candidates were each allowed five minute opening remarks followed by three questions from the moderator.

The Times-WAKA forum will also give candidates time for an opening statement – two minutes – and then candidates will be asked direct questions about their positions on specific issues directly related to the city.

“I think citizens are going to have some fun on Thursday,” McElvy said. “Our questions, while not personal, will be direct and pertinent to the leadership of our city and its future. Candidates will have to be quick on their feet and, hopefully, we’ll ask some of the tough questions voters have brought to our attention.”

Since announcing the Aug. 12 forum, numerous citizens have already taken part in the Thursday’s forum. McElvy and WAKA reporter Stephen McLamb will moderate the forum and ask a round of questions to each candidate. After that, citizens will have an opportunity to ask direct questions.

“Anyone who has a question, whether it’s candidate-specific or general in nature, is more than welcome to send us that question in advance,” McElvy said.

During Thursday’s forum, McLamb, McElvy and Times Editor Clif Lusk will screen the questions and then allow members of the audience to ask those questions.

In order to be part of the forum, citizens are encouraged to e-mail or fax questions to The Times. If the authors of those questions are in attendance Thursday, they will be called upon to read their questions. If not, moderators will ask the questions.

To submit a question, citizens can fax them to (334) 289-4019 or e-mail them to

“We’ve already had a tremendous response from the public, and we’ve got a great selection of questions to work from already,” McElvy said. “However, we’d still love to get more interaction from those who will go to the polls on Aug. 24.”

All six mayoral candidates – Mitchell Congress, Mike Grayson, Stephen Gutshall, Ed Key, Ben Sherrod and Cecil Williamson – have committed to attend on Thursday.

– Staff Report