Political Forum Held

Published 10:26 am Monday, October 10, 2016

The Cordele-Crisp County Chamber of Commerce hosted a political forum on Thursday, October 6, at 6:30 p.m. at the Crisp County Middle School Auditorium.  Ron Cruz started off the forum, Bambie Hayes delivered the Invocation, and Richard Grogg emcee’d the event.

The public turned in questions for the candidates before the start of the forum, and Emcee Richard Grogg asked those questions to each candidate.  In addition to answering their questions, each candidate was allowed a two-minute opening statement and two-minute closing statement.  Candidates whose opponents were not present for debate were allowed to deliver a four-minute speech stating their case for office.

Candidates that were present for the forum were Allen Buckley (running for U.S. Senate against Johnny Isakson and Jim Barksdale, who were not present) – Greg Kirk (running for 13th District State Senator against Ruenett Melton, who was not present) – Amber Holloway and Harry Fox (both running for Judge of Crisp County Probate Court) – Jean Rogers (running for Clerk of Superior Court against Crandall Postell, who was not present) – Sheriff Billy Hancock (running for Sheriff against Ricky Redding, who was not present) –Deborah Lofton and Dravian McGill (both running for Crisp County Tax Commissioner) – Justin Posey and Kathy McGill (both running for Board of Education East Crisp) – Lydia Adkins and Curtis Lucas, Jr. (both running for Board of Education Cordele).  Neither candidate for Public Service Commission, Tim Echols and Eric Hoskins, was present.  Neither candidate of the 2nd Congressional District, Greg Duke and Sanford Bishop, was present.

Below are statements made at the forum by both opposing candidates present.

Judge of Probate Court Candidates:

Harry Fox: Has 17 years of law enforcement experience, but no law degree.  He would like to see a Driver’s Ed program and work-based learning program initiated for students in Crisp County.  He wants to be proactive in Guardianship cases and be a helping hand in the community, not just behind a podium.  He believes an online tax system would be more efficient and convenient for taxpayers, but a con of that would be limited interaction with local community.

Amber Holloway:  Holds a Juris Doctorate and is a licensed attorney.  She is knowledgeable with Probate Law and takes citizens concerns very seriously.  She stated that she would look at traffic citations on an individual basis, yet realizes that every dollar is important for Crisp County. She believes an online tax system would make the tax office more efficient, yet has concerns about the cost of implementation and hacking.

Crisp County Tax Commissioner

Deborah Lofton: She is currently the Deputy Tax Commissioner and has 18 years experience.  She knows the ropes at the tax office and has good rapport with the citizens.  Her strategy to collect delinquent taxes would include accepting payments on outstanding debt.

Dravian McGill:  He has 25 years experience in accounting, tax collection, and setting budgets.  He would promote growth and new development. He does not promote subletting to a tax collection service and wants to set up a tax collection department within the local tax office to accept payments on delinquent taxes.

Board of Education – East Crisp

Justin Posey:  He has a B.A. of Science in Education, is a Youth Pastor, and former Physical Therapist working with Crisp County School students.  He feels the biggest challenge facing the school system is pushing students to quickly to perform state mandates without having programs in place to help them achieve these goals.  He desires to be a part of the decisions made for the future of Crisp County students.  He feels a way to encourage parent attendance at school board meetings would be reminder calls, repeat social media reminders, and notices brought home by the student.

Kathy McGill:  She holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and has a passion for all children, especially in Crisp County.  She has a thorough understanding of state school board policies.  She was employed at the Crisp County School System Central Office and has children who attend Crisp County schools.  She feels the biggest challenge facing students are to those who come from lower income household, not having support in the home, and social media bullying.  She feels a way to encourage parent attendance at school board meetings would be to adjust meeting times so that working parents could attend, in addition to acknowledge student achievement at those meetings.

Board of Education – Cordele

Lydia Adkins: Currently a board member and has served for 18 years.  She is very knowledgeable with Board policies, has a close rapport with the community, and genuine love for all children.  She is a 4th generation Crisp County student, her children are 5th generation Crisp County students, and her grandchildren are 6th generation Crisp County students.

Curtis Lucas: Has taught school for 38 years in the Crisp County School system.  He would use his extensive teaching experience with countless students to make a positive impact at the Board.  He and his children attended Crisp County Schools, and he believes in giving back to the community.

Ending the forum, Rep. Buddy Harden spoke about four proposed Constitutional Amendments and confirmed exciting news that the Wilcox County School System has been approved for a new school that will house elementary, middle, and high school students under one roof.  There will be more details of this venture to follow in an upcoming edition.

The forum was very informative and all candidates questioned were very professional.  No one delivered attacks against each other.