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Candidates who attended Tuesday’s political forum here agreed that elected officials should measure up to a higher standard of accountability, but they were mixed on other topics including the proposed new justice center, keeping the courthouse open on Saturday, and a 9-1-1 emergency calling system for the county.
Only Robert Robertson, Republican candidate for presiding commissioner said he would favor a 9-1-1 system. Robertson said he has experienced problems twice in obtaining emergency help quickly because of inadequate addressing.
Circuit Clerk Kim Hathcock, who is seeking re-election, did not hesitate in her support for a new judicial facility, because, she said the hallways get so crowded during court that those waiting to testify cannot even hear when they are called.
Karen Bates-Crouch, candidate for prosecuting attorney, also said the county needs a new jail and court facilities.
Most of the candidates for presiding commissioner said the courthouse should be open on Saturday mornings to make the restrooms accessible. Presiding Commissioner Butch Linder, who is running for re-election, took responsibility for closing the courthouse, citing vandalism problems and the feasibility of paying someone to be there on the weekend.
Presiding commissioner candidates all said that the presiding commissioner was not the supervisor of the associate commissioners, but that the presiding commissioner has the responsibility of going to meetings and bringing back information for the associate commissioners.
Each candidate was given the opportunity to give a brief introduction to themselves and their candidacies.
Candidates for presiding commissioner who participated in the forum were Robert Robertson, Butch Linder, Larry Pueppke, Bud Clinkingbeard and Jeff Freeman.
Candidates for other races who participated were: circuit clerk, Kim Hathcock and Sandra Hylton, recorder of deeds, Kathy Bray and Tina Boyd, treasurer, Marsha Miller, Theresa Miller and Linda Paul, prosecuting attorney, Karen Bates-Crouch.
Phyllis Swofford, Douglas County Fair Board secretary and candidate for circuit clerk, sent a written statement apologizing for not attending, saying that she was busy getting ready for the fair.
Jayma Potter, candidate for the office of treasurer and also on the fair board, sent word that she was detained by a flat tire and was also busy with the fair.
Tuesday night’s political forum at the Ava Community Center was hosted jointly by the Douglas County Herald and KKOZ radio. Candidates attending were each asked to answer the same questions.
Questions were written out and handed to the moderator, and were read by KKOZ’s Joe Corum or Jody Porter from the Herald staff.
About 60 people attended the forum, in addition to the 12 candidates who were there.