Candidates forum set for April 10

By: Staff report

LUMBERTON — A forum featuring candidates for sheriff and district attorney will be held on April 10 at the Carolina Civic Center in downtown Lumberton.

The nonpartisan event, which is being sponsored by the Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce and The Robesonian, will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the public is welcome to attend. The Civic Center seats 450 people and the first people there will be seated until there is no more room.

The format for the event is still being tweaked, but it will include questions being presented to the candidates randomly. Each candidate will field the same number of questions, but all candidates will not be asked the same question. However, after a question is asked of a candidate, other candidates will be asked if they would like to weigh in as well.

The candidates will be given a limited amount of time to answer each question.

Plans are for the district attorney candidates to go first. There are three who are seeking the seat that is now held by Johnson Britt, the county’s district attorney since 1994 — Democrats Joe Osman and Matt Scott, and Republican Allen Adams. Britt is not seeking re-election.

There are five candidates seeking the seat being vacated by Sheriff Kenneth Sealey, who has held it since being appointed in 2005. They are all Democrats, Randy Graham, James Jones, George Kenworthy, Burnis Wilkins and Ronnie Patterson. There is no Republican candidate for sheriff.

The questions will be determined by an independent panel. The event will have a master of ceremony, a moderator who will pose the questions, and a timer.

The chamber approached The Robesonian about being a sponsor.

“We were excited to have the opportunity,” said Donnie Douglas, the editor of the paper. “We believe that campaigns should be about ideas and not how many signs can be placed in yards. All eight candidates for both offices are well-qualified, and we look forward to hearing the candidates provide detail on how they hope to make the county a better and safer place.”

The Robesonian will provide a video live stream of the event on Facebook.

“The chamber is delighted to co-sponsor the event. We have very qualified candidates in both of the fields, and are excited to give them a platform to share their views,” said Tanner Smith, a member of the chamber’s Leadership Committee. “We believe the real winner here will be the people of Robeson County who attend or watch the event, as they will be armed with insightful perspective as they head to the polls.”

The primary is May 8 and the General Election is Nov. 6.

Staff report