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The News, chamber to host forum
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The General Election is a month away, and The Covington News and Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce will seek to prepare voters at a forum from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Covington Branch Library on Floyd Street.

Candidates for state and local political posts in Newton County have been invited to answer questions on issues including alcohol by the drink sales, budgets, economic development, education and transportation. The event will be moderated by chamber President Hunter Hall and The News Publisher Charles Hill Morris Jr.

"This forum will give the community a chance to meet their local candidates and hear their thoughts on the issues," Morris said. "As a leader in providing community information, we feel it's important for us to host an event like this. We want to be an advocate for the community."

The News and chamber also staged a forum during the 2008 General Election. This year the Newton County Farm Bureau is also sponsoring the event, chamber Office Manager Sherry Dudley said.

The candidates will not be given questions in advance. To save time, questions will not be taken from the public.

Here are the candidates who have confirmed they are attending the forum:

State Races

State Senate 17: Democrat Jim Nichols (Republican Rick Jeffares has a prior commitment)

State Representative 110: Republican Andy Welch (Democrat Rudy Cox has not yet responded)

State Representative 95: Democrat Pam Dickerson, Republican Rodney Upton

County Races

Board of Commissioners District 2: Republican Rickie Corley, Democrat Lanier Sims

Board of Education District 3: Democrat Shakila Henderson-Baker, Republican Kevin Wade

Board of Education District 5: Republican Abigail Coggin-Morgan, Democrat Sharon Sawyer