Candidates for the county's state and local races answered questions about budgets, community involvement, economic development, education and transportation. The questions were developed jointly by The News and the chamber and each candidate was asked three questions.
Below are a few highlights from races affecting Rockdale County:
State Senate 17
Despite being a Democratic candidate, Jim Nichols said the political gridlock at the state capitol can't be relieved until more third-party candidates become involved. He said election reform is needed to increase political competition. The Georgia State University undergraduate student will face Republican Rick Jeffares, owner of a water preservation company, who couldn't attend.
State Representative, District 95
Democrat Pam Dickerson continued to emphasize her desire to see smaller class sizes for schools and said she would also work to protect the value of residents' homes by fighting legislation that uses foreclosure sales to determine home prices.
Republican Rodney Upton is running on a platform of family, freedom and fiscal responsibility and focused on stalwart conservative issues, including promoting a free market and scaling back the size of government.