DCDEC to host second forum for candidates

Published 11:02 pm Friday, May 4, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

The candidates’ forums for local elections to aid the public in their voting decision is in full swing with another forum to be held at the Walton Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, May 8. The forum is put on by the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee in order for Selma residents to get a chance to better understand the candidates’ platform and positions.

This is the second candidates’ forum the DCDEC has put on, with a previous forum taking place on Monday, April 23. According to DCDEC chairperson Synethia Pettaway, she felt it was necessary to divide the forums up on two separate dates because of the high volume of candidates. Breaking up the forums into two allows for more audience time with the candidates.

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The upcoming forum will feature candidates for Dallas County probate judge and circuit clerk. The previous forum hosted by the DCDEC was open for the positions of State Senate District 23, State House of Representatives District 67, Dallas County Sherriff and Dallas County School Board Districts two and three.

According to Pettaway, the forum is set up to give each candidate enough time for opening statements and closing statements, along with submitted questions from the audience. They will have three minutes for an opening statement and two minutes for closing remarks.

All candidates are allowed to bring as many supporters as they would like, with signs, cards and other campaign material all being fair game.

However, the DCDEC is not going to put up with hostility at the hands of the audience, the candidates or both. The purpose of the forum is to inform the public, rather than to try to spark conflict with your opponent, like a debate.

At the previous forum, moderator Labaron Mack made this zero-tolerance policy very clear. On two occasions Mack had to get onto a candidate for personally attacking the opponent or had to scold an audience member for rude remarks made at one of the candidates speaking.

“If you are going to come in, be rude and disrupt the candidates, you can leave,” Mack said at the forum in between sessions. “If you can’t keep your comments to yourself, you can leave.”

According to Pettaway, there forums provide a necessary public service by connecting the candidates to the residents. The lessons learned at the forums will empower them to make smart decisions at the ballot box.

Additionally, Pettaway is attempting to work out a debate before the primary election on June 5. With the election creeping up with each passing day, residents are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to meet the candidates.

The event begins at 6 p.m., but candidates and the public are welcome to a reception beforehand at 5 p.m.

For more information about the DCDEC, visit their Facebook at “Dallas County Democratic Party.”