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Posted: April 19, 2014 10:49 p.m.

Smart Growth’s political forum Monday

Forum will be live streamed by The News

Early voting for the May 20 Primary begins Friday, and local group Smart Growth Newton County is giving residents a chance to hear from all the local and state candidates facing opposition this year.

Smart Growth’s political forum begins at 7 p.m., Monday at the Washington Street Community Center, 4138 School St., Covington, and candidates for county commission districts 2 and 4 and three state house districts have said they’re planning to attend.

The forum will begin with each candidate giving a two-minute introduction, according to forum organizer Stephanie Lindsey. Then, only the candidates who are facing opposition in the primary will be asked additional questions, Lindsey said (meaning Andy Welch, B. Kaye Shipley, B.P. "Patsy" Harris and and Ricky Corley will not participate in the question portion as they will only be opposed in the November General Election).

Below if the format for the question-and-answer session:
- Each state house and each Board of Commissioners candidate will be asked three question apiece
- Each candidate will be given two minutes to respond; canidates running for different house and commission seats may be asked different questions
- If there is a time, candidates will be given the opporunity to make closing statements

The candidates were not given specific questions ahead of time, but were asked to acquaint themselves with seven general topics, with Newton County’s 2050 Plan being the primary one, said Smart Growth President Jonathan Paschal. (See "Related Content" to the left of this story to see the topics.)

The 2050 Plan is a comprehensive plan that seeks to direct and shape growth and development in every area of Newton County to preserve some existing rural areas, create conservation areas, enhance existing cities and create town center-like areas in more densely-developed western Newton County that have high-quality design with mixed-use residential and commercial areas and are walkable. For more about the 2050 Plan go to centernewton.org/plan/the-2050-plan.

Smart Growth Newton County supports many of the tenants upon which the 2050 Plan is built, including “growth that is town-centered and pedestrian oriented, that mixes housing, commercial and retail uses, and that preserves open space and environmental amenities,” according to its website.

For people who can’t attend in person, the forum is being live streamed by The Covington News on CovNews.com at covnews.com/section/126/article/51804. The forum will also be able to be viewed after the forum has ended at the same link.

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