Public forum offers chance to question city candidates|[3/27/05]

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 28, 2005

Members of the public will get their first chance to ask questions of candidates for the city’s three elected positions at a first public forum of this political season.

A Meet the Candidates Forum will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at Vicksburg Auditorium. It is sponsored by the Vicksburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., the Mississippi Chapter of Blacks in Government and the Vicksburg Branch of the NAACP.

There will also be a voter registration drive in conjunction with the forum. The deadline to register to vote in the party primary election is April 2.

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletter

Receive daily headlines and obituaries

Bobbie Bingham Morrow, president of the Vicksburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., said most of the candidates for Vicksburg mayor and two alderman seats have said they plan to attend the forum.

Candidates will be given three minutes each to present their platforms. That will be followed by questions and answers from the public.

Morrow said the forum is expect to last about three hours.

Vicksburg voters will go to the polls May 3 to pick Democratic nominees in three municipal races. There is no Republican primary because there is only one Republican candidate in each race.

The Republican candidates will advance to the June 7 general election along with winners of the Democratic primary races to face independent candidates.

Seeking the Democratic nomination in the race for mayor are former Warren County District 2 Supervisor John Ferguson, 63; Eric Rawlings, 42, who ran unsuccessfully for the nomination four years ago; Warren County District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon, 44, and first-time office seeker John Shorter, 38, a contractor with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The winner will face Republican Shirley Newman Smollen, 69, and independent candidates Mayor Laurence Leyens, 40, and former Mayor Joe Loviza, 65.

In the North Ward primary, incumbent Gertrude Young, 49, is being challenged for the Democratic nomination by Warren County District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield, 47, and Rodney Dillamar, 45, a convenience store owner.

Independent candidates in that race are city employee Vickie Bailey, 36, and construction worker Tommie Rawlings, 41. The only Republican in that race is Carl Yelverton, 58, a security guard at a local casino.

In the South Ward, former Vicksburg police officer DaVon Grey, 46, and local hair dresser Pam Johnson, 39, are seeking the nomination and a chance to challenge incumbent Sid Beauman, 57, a Republican seeking his second term. There are no independent candidates in that race.

General election winners take office to start four-year terms on July 1.