Hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, the forum will feature the following candidates: Walter Jacobson, Doug Murphree and Bobby Whetstone for mayor; Jim Heigl, Joe Hogan and Mike Landers for City Council District 1; Manuell Smith and Shannon Darby for District 2; Ken Horn and Tom Roberts for District 3; Rocky Lucas and Jon Hall for District 4; and Billy Hay and Billy Carden for District 5. Mayoral candidate Clara Curtis had a prior commitment.
Chamber Director Carol Bates said community members are strongly encouraged to attend the forum.
“We want our citizens to make informed decisions,” Bates said. “Without their involvement and input in this process, we cannot move Sylacauga forward, and we cannot plan for the future and growth of the city. Community involvement is vital.”
The forum, sponsored in part by Walmart, will consist of a two-minute introduction, a question and answer segment and a two-minute closing statement for each candidate. City council candidates will answer two questions and mayoral candidates will answer three. Each candidate will be asked the same questions, dealing with topics pertinent to city issues.
The event will be moderated by Johnnie Aycock, who was director of the Chamber of Commerce in Tuscaloosa for more than 25 years. He now owns and operates Strategic Management Associates LLC, which is currently working on a project with the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission.
Qualifying for this year’s Aug. 28 elections is open through July 17. Bates said this forum was intentionally planned to allow time for others to join the race.
“We’re having this forum before qualifying is over, because maybe somebody will come and decide they don’t see what they want, and they want to run,” she said. “This way they still have time to make that decision.”
A political debate for mayoral candidates is set for Aug. 23. At this event, candidates will answer questions submitted by citizens. More information about submitting questions will be provided closer to the debate.
Bates said the Chamber hopes for a great turnout at tonight’s forum.
“We’ve gotten a lot of interest and phone calls about it,” she said. “There’s never a perfect date for an event, but we hope people make the time to come and learn about the candidates.”
To qualify for the election, candidates must complete the necessary paperwork at the City Clerk’s office. Candidates must be a registered voter and must have been a city resident for at least 90 days. In addition, candidates must pay $25 to qualify for city council and $50 to qualify for mayor. If a candidate lacks the necessary funds, he or she may sign a statement of indigence. For more information, contact the Sylacauga City Clerk’s office at 256-401-2400.
Contact Emily Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.