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Candidate forum nears
Event focuses on commission
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Forsyth County News
If you’re going

• What: Meet the Candidates Forum
• Who: Candidates for Forsyth County commission, Districts 1 and 3
• When: 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. Tuesday
• Where: Chamber of commerce facility, 513 West Maple St. in Cumming
• Sponsor: Smart Growth Forsyth County
• Online:
Forsyth County voters will get a first chance to see all the candidates for county commission in one place Tuesday night.

Smart Growth Forsyth County will hold its Meet the Candidates Forum at 7:15 p.m. in the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce events facility.

The forum will provide an “opportunity for each candidate to discuss his or her position on a number of questions,” said Bob Slaughter, managing director of Smart Growth.

Commission Districts 1 and 3 are on the ballot for the July 20 primary. Commissioners will be elected by district for the first time this year, rather than by the county as a whole.

Four Republican candidates, including incumbent Jim Harrell, will vie for the post in District 3, which covers the county’s southwestern corner.

Two Republicans and one Democrat are pursuing the seat in District 1, where incumbent Charles Laughinghouse has decided not to seek re-election.

District 1 includes some of Cumming and much of western Forsyth.

“Because Smart Growth is apolitical and is a nonprofit, we’ve got candidates from both sides of the aisle in the same room with one another,” Slaughter said. “It gives the citizens a broader perspective of the possibilities out there.”

All but one candidate have confirmed they will attend, Slaughter said.

Pete Amos, for District 1, has scheduling conflicts. However, he is trying to rearrange his plans.

Questions drafted by the nonprofit have been provided in advance to the candidates and are also available on the group’s Web site.

Topics range from guiding community growth to commission meeting times.

Slaughter said if time allows on Tuesday, there will be a drawing to determine which audience members can ask additional questions.

Smart Growth also held a candidate forum for the last commission election in 2008.

The group feels it’s important to provide the opportunity for residents to get to know their candidates.

“You get what you vote for,” Slaughter said. “We believe that a better informed citizen is able to help the county make appropriate choices for their future.”

Early voting for the primary began Monday.

Smart Growth’s is the first forum of the election season.

The State of Georgia Tea Party has scheduled a gubernatorial candidate debate June 26 at the chamber.

The Forsyth County Republican Party plans to hold debates for local and state offices June 28-30.