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Political forum for all July candidates draws overflow crowd to Clayton State
by Bill Baldowski
July 03, 2012 04:25 PM | 2293 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Candidates on the July 31 ballot shared limited seating with voters who will hold their political future in their hands at last Thursday’s all-candidate political forum sponsored by the Coalition of Clayton County Clergy.

It was held at the James M. Baker University Center on the Clayton State University campus.

The candidates were also scheduled to return for last Friday’s candidate forum, scheduled at the Clayton State University Lecture Hall.

Candidates for each public office were called to the front of the room and, after an opening statement from each, members of the coalition asked prepared questions. They also cautioned those attending to refrain from showing any support for, or opposition to, any particular candidate.

The two races which caused the most response from the audience were those for chairman of the Clayton County Commission and for sheriff. However, incumbent sheriff Kem Kimbrough did not attend the forum. Also not attending the sheriff forum were candidates Godreque Newsom and Ricky Redding.

Those vying for the commission chairman seat included incumbent Eldrin Bell and two other well known Clayton figures, former Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner and District 74 state Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam.

In the sheriff race, the five candidates attending included Jon E. Antoine, Tina Daniel, Lawrence Ethridge, Victor Hill and Rica Wright.

One of the hottest topics during the chairman commission forum dealt with the upcoming Transportation Investment Act referendum on the ballot. While Bell and Abdul-Salaam supported the referendum, which, they said, would restore public transit and bring jobs to Clayton, Turner said it would just add another tax to the already overtaxed Clayton resident.

In the sheriff race, the candidates spoke of their desire to make the sheriff office accountable and transparent.

Each sheriff candidate said they would make serving warrants a 24-hour responsibility of the office.

Daniel said if she were elected, she would move the department forward “so as to embrace new crime-fighting technology.”

Asking voters to return the crime-fighter to office, Hill said he would make sure the jail, which he called one of the sheriff department’s primary responsibilities, would be clean and safe for sheriff department personnel and inmates alike.

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