Candidates asked to take part in Thursday forum

Published 9:31 am Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Vicksburg residents have an opportunity to learn more about candidates who are running for seats on the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen at a candidates’ forum on Thursday night.

The Vicksburg Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, along with Blacks in Government and the Warren County chapter of the NAACP, will host the forum beginning at 6 p.m. in the circuit courtroom of the Warren County Courthouse.

Gertrude Young, who is city of Vicksburg director of housing, said candidates for the city positions who will be on the ballot in the primary and general election have been invited to attend.

“We’ve been doing these forums for years,” Young said. “We let the candidates have two minutes for an opening statement to tell us why they are running for office and why they would be the best candidate for the position.”

After those statements, a question and answer period commences.

“We screen the questions. We don’t want to subject the candidates to anything derogatory or below the belt,” she said. “Those questions will be open to all of the candidates to answer, unless a question was asked of only a specific candidate.”

Moderator of the event will be Machelle Kyles, state social action director

“We wanted someone not from this area so she’s not influenced by local politics, as some of our local people could be,” Young said.

“We encourage the candidates to bring any kind of literature or handouts they have to the event. And, we also do a voter registration while it’s going on. We also encourage candidates to invite their supporters. We want everyone to feel comfortable,” she said.

Each candidate for mayor and aldermen has committed to attending the event except for Alex Monsour, a current Republican state representative who is running for south ward alderman, Young said, “but I’m sure he’ll be there.”

Learning what candidates stand for is important for effective city government, Young said.

“The reason why our organization does this is because we want people to be in the know when they cast their ballots. This is not about friendships. We really want candidates who will do something. People have the chance to ask questions of the candidates and meet with them face to face,” she said.