If you go
All debates are set for 7 to 9 p.m. in the commissioners’ auditorium on the second floor of the Forsyth County Administration Building, 110 E. Main St.
* Tuesday: Forsyth County commissioners
* May 14: Forsyth County sheriff
* May 24: U.S. House District 9
A local tea party plans to hold a series of political debates this month.
The Forsyth County Tea Party Patriots Alliance will welcome candidates for county commission in the first of three debates on Tuesday.
Candidates for Forsyth County sheriff will face off May 14. A May 24 session will feature District 9 U.S. House hopefuls.
All debates will take place in the Forsyth County Administration Building beginning at 7 p.m.
Trilby Leech, founder of the tea party, said the nonpartisan group saw an opportunity to open a forum to inform voters with a debate series.
“We see our role as educators and providing information to folks to make their own minds up,” Leech said. “We want people to be able to make an intelligent decision when they go in the voting booth.”
In each debate, people who attend will have the opportunity to write out questions.
The group will order the questions, and a moderator will ask them in the time allotted to all candidates.
Though commission candidates are running for three posts determined by district-only voting, Leech said all the hopefuls will get a chance to respond to each question.
“You may not be able to elect them, but their decisions are significant to the whole of Forsyth County,” she said.
Unlike a previous commissioners’ debate, which took place in the same room, Leech said the candidates will sit facing the audience.
Candidates and audience members at all the debates will begin with a “meet and greet” period.
For the first of the series, Leech said all commission candidates responded to the invitation except for incumbent for District 2, Commissioner Brian Tam.
Challenger Dennis Brown will attend, though a prior commitment likely will result in him arriving late.
In eastern District 5, only incumbent Commissioner Jim Boff is expected to be present, as challenger John Derucki had a prior engagement.
Leech said he submitted a statement to be read in his absence.
All candidates in the northern District 4 are expected to attend, including incumbent Patrick Bell and challengers Tim Hubbard, Charles Meagher, Cindy J. Mills and Bill Mulrooney.
The series of debates is a first for the tea party, which was recently renamed as an official merge of the local Tea Party Patriots and the Concerned Citizens of Forsyth County.
The concerned citizens group was founded more than four years ago by Leech. It has held several rallies, including most years on tax day at the steps of the Forsyth County Courthouse.