He appreciates newspaper’s sponsorship of candidate forum

Published 10:25 am Saturday, May 1, 2010

To the Editor:

I would sincerely and publicly like to take this opportunity to personally thank Steve Stewart of The Tidewater News for affording the voters an opportunity for the candidates of Ward 6 to present their platforms in the forum two Thursdays ago at Paul D. Camp Community College Workforce Center.

I was somewhat surprised, however, at the low turnout, but was pleasantly enlightened by both Jamie Brown and Ray Smith as to their thoughts on the direction in which they would like to see the City of Franklin move.

Because of the low turnout, I wondered if the voters actually understood the opportunity and the importance behind the forum.

Stewart offered the voters the advantage of hearing and possibly deciding which candidate they would more likely want representing them and speaking on their behalf, yet the African-American turnout was limited to Ward 3 council candidate Gregory McLemore, a reporter for The Tidewater News and myself.

On April 21, Councilwoman Rosa Lawrence declined an invitation to participate in a forum, stating that her opponent was “being messy.”

In my opinion, she owes not only McLemore a public apology, but the voters of the City of Franklin for depriving them of the opportunity of hearing and deciding for themselves whether or not her platform is best suited for them.

The voters deserve the right to form their own opinions, and Stewart should be applauded for his service to the public that informs and does not deprive.

Councilwoman Lawrence’s excuse for not wanting to participate in a well-organized and presented forum makes no sense at all. At the forum, she could have better informed the voters, which she needs in order to maintain the seat which, in my opinion, she takes for granted.

These are hard times and people are confused and hurting like never before. We need for the people that we elect to be willing to confront the challenges that face us with our best interest in mind and not back away because of “messy situations.”

First and foremost, we must remember who we belong to and who is really in charge. Then we will be more capable of understanding the task ahead of us is not as great as the power within us.

May God bless you and Heaven shine upon you.

Larry Demetreious Mathews