Groups sponsor candidates’ forum

Published 8:09 am Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ISLE OF WIGHT—As Election Day draws closer, a lot of attention is focused on the Virginia governor’s race. However, there are also local races that could have a profound effect on the way government is run over the next few years, especially in Isle of Wight County.

To help citizens make informed decisions come Nov. 3, the Isle of Wight Citizen’s Association, the Carrollton Civic League and other co-sponsors are hosting a candidates’ forum Monday, Oct. 19, at the Smithfield Center from 7 to 9 p.m.

Organizers hope that voters will turn out in big numbers.

“It’s their government and they should come out and participate,” said Grace Keen, president of the Isle of Wight Citizen’s Association.

All candidates for the county’s contested races, including incumbent Kenneth Bunch and challenger Debbie Hall, who are vying for the Carrsville District School Board seat, have committed to participate, according to Nancy Guill of the Carrollton Civic League.

Other competitive seats in the county include Board of Supervisors and School Board seats representing the Hardy District. Carrsville District Supervisor Phillip Bradshaw is seeking re-election unopposed.

The three candidates for the 64th District House of Delegates seat, incumbent Democratic Delegate William “Bill” Barlow, Republican Stan Clark and Independent Green Party candidate Albert Burckard, will also participate in the forum. All three candidates live in Isle of Wight County.

Guill expects the state budget — and ideas to keep it under control ­­­— will be a popular topic of discussion for the three House candidates.

Smithfield Times Editor John Edwards will moderate the forum. Doors open at 6 p.m., a welcome reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. and the Smithfield High School band will provide music.

Guill said that voters should come out to hear what candidates have to say in order to make an informed decision on Election Day.

“I would hope that people would come out,” she said. “There’s nothing better than being able to ask the candidates questions directly.”