Forum chance to hear candidates

Published 2:58 pm Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Citizens of Alabaster got their chance to hear from municipal candidates Monday at an election forum held at Thompson High School.

During the forum, each mayoral candidate was asked two questions, which they were allowed to answer in three minutes. The city council candidates were allowed to speak on their platforms for two minutes. Then the mayoral candidates were allowed to speak for two more minutes before the floor was opened up to audience questions.

Mayor David Frings, Kevin Giles and Marty Handlon each participated in the mayoral portion of the forum, while candidate Larry Martin was not in attendance.

City council candidates Scott Brakefield and Barbara Gore represented Ward 6, Don Botta and Jim McClain represented Ward 5, and Sophie Martin and Jerry Workman represented Ward 1.

Tommy Ryals of Ward 7, Rick Walters of Ward 4, Adam Moseley of Ward 3 and Bob Hicks of Ward 2 are all running unopposed and did not participate in the forum, although all four were in attendance.

During the forum, which lasted approximately an hour and a half, candidates spoke about fiscal accountability, tourism, bringing in businesses, roads, schools and sports.

Several of the more than 125 citizens in attendance also participated in the question-and-answer session, speaking on topics such as the use of parks facilities, education, quality of life and accountability in city government.

“I think these types of forums are important because it gives citizens the chance to express what’s important to them, such as parks, schools, business,” said Jennifer Trammell, forum emcee and president of the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.

“And it also gives city leaders a chance to listen. It’s good to open up that dialogue.”

The forum was one of 10 that will take place throughout municipalities in the county this week. The Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, the Shelby County Reporter and the Calera, Montevallo and South Shelby Chambers of Commerce all helped sponsor the free event.