Citizens say

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 13, 2004

forum helped

decision process

by clif lusk/Editor

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DEMOPOLIS – About 150 Demopolis residents turned out to hear what the candidates had to say about their campaigns and the future of the city.

The Demopolis Times

and WAKA CBS 8 hosted the second mayoral forum Thursday night at the Demopolis Civic Center. The forum focused on questions posed by The Times, WAKA and the general public, which were submitted both at the event and via e-mail prior to the forum.

The format seemed to work well for most who attended and reaction from the crowd was positive.

“It helped me make a decision about who I was going to vote for on election day,” said Mickey Green. “I really appreciated the forum with [asking the candidates] tough questions.”

Tim Densmore is a local youth pastor, and said he was intrigued by candidate responses to youth-related questions that addressed the issue of providing recreational opportunities for the younger crowd.

“I greatly appreciated the questions posed about youth. That’s a great concern of mine and the answer did help me determine who I was going to vote for,” he said. “The youth are the determining factor for the future of the city.”

Wayne Strabble and his wife Faith attended the forum to learn more about each candidate. Faith, armed with a yellow legal pad, was taking notes.

“I enjoyed the fact that all the candidates were here,” Wayne Strabble said, noting he had missed the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce forum two weeks ago because he hadn’t known about it.

“It helped to listen and see the interaction with the other candidates,” he said.

While he hadn’t completely made up his mind about to whom his vote would go, Strabble said the forum gave he and his wife the opportunity to meet some of the candidates they did not know.

“I’ve heard some of the names before, but some of the candidates we just did not know,” he said. “It was very informative.”

Some in the crowd were decidedly in support of a particular candidate – some wearing t-shirts, others merely supporting their particular candidate.

Elizabeth Smith is campaigning for Stephen Gutshall, and praised all the candidates.

“Everyone did a great job and I’m glad so many people turned out

it says a lot about the importance of this election.”

Eddie Brewer stood in front of the civic center’s sliding glass doors for most of the hour-and-a-half-long program. He felt the question-and-answer format worked well.

“It was good for everybody to hear the questions and having [all the candidates] together at one time,” he said.

Some thought some additional questions ought to have been asked.

“I thought it was timely and interesting. They asked some tough questions, but there were some that weren’t asked that I thought should have been. It has been spoken to me personally that this election would be colorblind. I would like to know what would (each candidate) do to make sure it’s colorblind?’,” said Gidd Russell.

As for the shopping at home, the former business owner said he thought it was a good question and one that is important to the city.

“It’s very vital to our city to ensure growth in this town,” he said.

Councilman Willard Williams, himself involved in a three-way campaign for District 2, thought the forum was a good idea.

“I think it was real informative. The more information you have the better off the election process will be,” he said.