The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

September 13, 2013

Candidate forum set for Oct. 3


TARBORO — Do you want to know more about the candidates who are running in the Nov. 5 election?

If so, attend the Election Candidate Forum 6 p.m. Oct. 3 at Edgecombe Community College, Fleming Building Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Edgecombe County Human Relations Commission.

The purpose of the forum is to give candidates opportunities to address issues that affect their respective districts or wards, as well as the county as a whole.

"As the Human Relation Commission, we want to help our citizens make inform decision and not based on who the person is but how the issues are going to impact their lives," Alice Schenail, chairman of the Human Relations Commission

The candidates were mailed specific questions that will be asked during the forum. Each candidate will be given an opportunity to answer those questions. Another portion of the program will allow spectators to submit questions to the candidates. Schenail said last year's event, which was held in Edgecombe County Administration Building, was successful. "We didn't have the plethora of space," she said. The organization solved that problem by moving the venue to a much larger arena.

There are 41 candidates vying for 16 seats in the election which could make for interesting races. One of the most interesting race could be the Tarboro mayorship. The seat became vacant when Donald Morris abruptly stepped down in August. Morris had already announced that he would not seek re-election. Candidates for the seat are Donnie Hale, Rick Page and John Wooten.

Tarboro was once known for its' political camaraderie amongst the board. Recently infighting have damaged that reputation.    

Infighting has been a constant in Princeville, which could make for another interesting race for the mayor's seat. The board is obviously divided and incumbent Priscilla Everette-Oates has filed for re-election and is being challenged by Milton Bullock, Bobbie Jones and Theresa Williams.

"We don't have a lot of harmony in the political arena in Edgecombe County,"  (Schenail) said. "You can tell by how many candidates are running. People see a need for change. That's why we are sponsoring the forum."

Schenail encouraged citizens not to vote for candidates because of their appearance or intellect. She encouraged citizens to come to the forum to hear the candidates' platform to help make their decision.  

"It's nice to be able to speak at will, to be able to articulate. It's nice to wear nice clothes and be charismatic. What we need are candidates with integrity and the ability to get the job done. At the end of the day, that's what everyone wants to see.

No one else is moving in Edgecombe County. It's up to us to get it right.

"I encourage everybody, even the citizens who are not registered, to come out and hear what the candidates have to say. If they are not registered, they may hear something that may inspire them to register and vote."