In District 18, incumbent Republican Kevin Cooke, 32, a Carrollton real estate appraiser, will face Democrat Pat Rhudy, 61, Carrollton, a Census employee and substitute teacher, in the Nov. 6 general election. In District 69, incumbent Republican Randy Nix, 60, a LaGrange minister, is being challenged by Democrat Herbert Giles, 57, Carrollton, a courier.
Both districts include portions of Carroll County
The forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters Carrollton and Carroll County, will be held from 7-9 p.m. in the commission chambers auditorium of the David Perry County Administration Building on College Street in Carrollton.
“The moderator will open the forum,” said local LWV President Robin Collins. “Candidates will give their opening remarks. The moderator will seek questions from the audience, with the questions being written on note cards. Audience questions may be directed to a particular candidate or all candidates. The assistant moderator will combine any audience questions that are similar.
“The moderator will close the question portion, and each candidate will be given time to deliver closing remarks.”
“We won’t have panelists at this forum and we’ll only take audience questions,” Collins said. “This is something we’re trying new and may go back to having panelists in the Oct. 15 District 30 state Senate forum.”
Collins said the League reserves the right to adjust the format of the candidate forums when it is in the best interest of informing the voters, with advance notice given to the candidates.
She noted that the League of Women Voters is a non-partisan, issue-driven organization that supports voters as active participants in the democratic process, but does not support or oppose any specific political party or candidates.
Voters will get a chance to hear from local education leaders and ask questions on a constitutional amendment at a forum also sponsored by the local League of Women Voters.
The panel discussion will be held at the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m.
The amendment, to be voted on in the Nov. 6 election, asks voters if charter school applications should be approved by a new state commission instead of local school boards and the state Board of Education.
Scheduled to appear at the forum are Scott Cowart, superintendent of Carroll County Schools; Dr. Kent Edwards, superintendent of Carrollton City Schools; Dr. David Hicks, superintendent of Bremen City Schools; and Tom Upchurch, former superintendent of Carrollton City Schools and president emeritus of Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. Dr. Bruce Lyon, a member of the LWV, will facilitate the panel discussion.
“Two weeks ago, we invited our four legislators who have constituents in Carroll County and the school superintendents in the same west Georgia areas to speak,” said Collins. “Unfortunately, three of our local legislators have prior commitments on this date, and one has not replied. Our local superintendents have accepted our invitation.”
The four panelists have all expressed a negative stance toward the amendment, but Collins stressed that none of the panelists were asked about their positions on the amendment before they were invited.
“It is a primary goal of the League of Women Voters to inform voters and to provide them opinions and views from those who are believed to be the most professional and knowledgeable speakers available without regard to political parties,” Collins said. “We place particular emphasis on citizen engagement with elected or appointed officials by providing opportunities for members of the community to attend public programs in which they may ask questions about issues.”
A couple of weeks ago, Elizabeth Poythress, president of the Georgia League of Women Voters Board of Directors, announced that the state organization has voted to oppose the amendment and urged all members to vote no on the issue.
“We believe this proposal is not in the best interest of the children of Georgia or the taxpayers of Georgia,” Poythress said. “It is unwise, wasteful and not in the best long-term interests of the state of Georgia. We believe it is bad public policy to create a duplicate school system that will, in the words of the Georgia Supreme Court, ‘compete with locally controlled schools for the same pool of students education with the same limited pool of tax funds.’”
In a press release from Poythress, the president goes on to say the League of Women Voters of Georgia is “firmly committed to public education for all the children of Georgia.”
Collins said the local position statement is an offshoot of the state league’s position, which itself is born out of the national league’s stance.
“The national league positions become the state and local league positions, and the state league positions become the local league positions,” Collins said. “These positions are updated by further study, including public events such as this.”