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BOE, county hopefuls address AARP
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Forsyth County News
School board and county commission candidates gathered with AARP members Friday to spend some time with the county's retired voters.

Shelley Johnson, Forsyth County senior services director, pointed to an "age tsunami" as bringing significant value to seniors' votes.

"If you did not vote, most of our guests would not be here today," she told the members. "They know you vote."

Most of the candidates spent the lunch hour at Golden Corral meeting and answering questions from individual AARP members, many of which focused on budgetary issues.

Each person running for office was also allotted two minutes to formally address the group.

All candidates attended except Mark Venco, a District 3 commission candidate, and Brian Sorrell, a District 1 school board candidate.

The school board hopefuls joined in the same room for their first public appearance.

Incumbent Republican Ann Crow, who's running for her third term in the District 1 seat, pointed to the recent release of standardized test scores, which showed Forsyth County performed among the best in the state.

"I would like to keep the same tone in our school system ... so we keep on the track that we are," she said.

Republicans Lawrence Duckworth and Kristin Morrissey and Democrat Camille Fareri are competing to fill the District 2 post being vacated by Mike Dudgeon, who's running for the District 24 state House seat.

All the candidates pointed to their experience in the field of education.

Duckworth noted his fiscal expertise as a former CEO of a learning company.

Fareri presented a long list of education experience, including a doctorate in the field and a professorship at Brenau University in Gainesville.

Morrissey spoke of her many areas of community involvement, as well as her "vested interest" in the school system, noting she's the only school board candidate with children in the schools.

The commission candidates each addressed some of their top priorities, ranging from water issues to taxes to fiscal management.

Republicans Pete Amos and Brant Meadows as well as Democrat Mary Chatfield are running for the District 1 seat, for which incumbent Charles Laughinghouse is not seeking re-election.

In District 3, Republican incumbent Jim Harrell faces opponents Todd Levent, Josh Shorr and Venco.