Mayoral candidate forum in the works

Published 11:26 pm Thursday, June 9, 2016

Selma residents will soon have the opportunity to get to know its mayor candidates better through a mayor’s debate sponsored by One Selma.

The debate will be held Sunday, July 31 at the Selma High School’s auditorium beginning at 3 p.m.

“We wanted a non-partisan debate for the mayor’s office that everybody could attend,” said Dr. Jerry Light with One Selma. “Sometimes in a small town, you don’t have a forum to do that.”

Mayor debate candidates include incumbent mayor George Evans, former mayor the Rev. James Perkins, councilman Greg Bjelke, State Rep. Darrio Melton and minister Jerria Martin.

Organizer Juanda Maxwell said the group has worked extra hard to make sure each candidate has no advantage over the other.

This is accomplished with the assistance of Dr. Bridget King, political science assistant professor at Auburn University.

King will be collecting questions submitted via hyperlink and mail service between June 12 and June 30. After collecting the questions, King will select and prepare the material for the debate.

Light said once the questions are submitted to King, they will remain with her until the evening of the debate.

At that point, she will give the material to Darryl Hood, Alabama News Network anchor, who will be acting as mediator for the event.

“We just wanted to do that to protect the integrity of what we’re doing,” Light said.

The hyperlink will be available at and at Selma Faith United’s Facebook page.

Physical mail can be sent to Dr. Bridgett A. King, assistant professor, Department of Political Science, Auburn University, 351 W. Thatch Ave., 7080 Haley Center, Auburn, AL 36849.

Questions will be organized into different categories including economy, crime, education, infrastructure, city services, communities and neighborhoods and the next generation of Selma.

Maxwell believes it is important for the community to participate in the forum to hear questions directly answered from the candidates.

She said this will give residents more information about each candidate to make a better informed decision in the end.

“Leadership does matter. Selma will, of course, live or die based upon it’s leadership,” Maxwell said. “It’s up to Selmians to make the choice.”