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Posted: July 16, 2010 1:41 p.m.

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BOE, BOC forums on June 21, 29

The Newton County Voters League is hosting two separate forums to accommodate the more than 20 candidates running for local and state races.

On June 21, the league is hosting a Newton County Board of Education forum and on June 29, it’s hosting a Board of Commissions and State Representative District 95 forum.

Both forums will take place at the Historic Courthouse at 1124 Clark Street from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., though voters league president James Mullins said they might last longer depending on public participation and candidate response.

Mullins said 11 out of 12 candidates have said they’re attending the BOE forum, while he’s still waiting for confirmation for some candidates for the June 29 forum. Five candidates are running for two BOC seats and there are four candidates for the District 95 state representative seat.

Each candidate will be allowed a two-minute opening statement. Then a panel will ask general questions, and each candidate will have one minute to answer. The panel will likely have two or three people chosen by the voters league.

If there is enough time, the floor will then be opened to questions from the audience.

Mullins said he’s excited for the forums, because these are the most crowded races he can remember.

"I don’t know whether or not it’s the budgeting situation, especially with BOE or people are just concerned that maybe the board members might need to be a little adventurous, as far as trying to solve problems, not just making budget cuts," he said. "Some people might have great ideas, but you never know until they start making that platform, and you talk to them and see their stance.

"I see it as growth too. A lot of people come into the community and are willing to lend their talents to help make Newton County a better county and school system. In a way I’m very pleased to have this number of people, because it says people are listening and watching in the community," he said, noting he’s never seen double digit candidates in a BOE or BOC race class.

"I just encourage people to come out and participate and be involved and go and vote," he said. "You can come out (to the forum), but you still have to go and vote."

The District 4 BOC race will actually be decided at the July 20 primary. Incumbent Commissioner J.C. Henderson and challenger Kenneth Hardeman are the only two candidates for the seat and are both democrats. In addition, five democrats are running for the District 3 BOE seat.

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