Nearly all of the 34 candidates for 14 separate races spanning Walker and Dade counties were in attendance, each speaking briefly on his or her qualifications for office as well as answering a question prepared by the Chamber.
A crowd of more than 200 packed the civic center auditorium for about two hours as the candidates each took a few minutes to speak, some opting to take an extra 30 seconds of rebuttal time as well to finish their statements or speak to what an opponent had said.
Incumbents, of which there are eleven in contested races, spoke on their experience in office, some for a decade or more, and asked that voters remember their service and dedication come election day July 31.
Two hotly contested races this year are the two state representative seats controlled in part by Walker County: Georgia House Districts 1 and 2. The district, recently re-distributed following the 2010 census, now encompasses Dade County as well as most of the western and southern half of Walker, including Rossville, Center Post and parts of Chickamauga.
LaFayette and most central Walker County residents, including those in and near Fort Oglethorpe as well as a small strip into Catoosa county, will instead be voting for a representative for District 2 and must choose between incumbent Jay Neal or Chickamauga businessman Steve Tarvin.
District 1 is running four competitive candidates: John Deffenbaugh, Mike Nowlin and Alan Painter on a Republican ticket, and Tom McMahan as one of just three Democrats up for local office this election year, the others being Tim Westbrook for sheriff and Ronald Cabero for school board Post 4, both of whom did not attend the Tuesday evening forum.
A update with a complete lineup of the candidates present at the forum and their answers to the Chamber’s questions is forthcoming both online at catwalkchatt.com and in the Wednesday, June 27, edition of the Walker County Messenger.