Voters get a chance to hear from candidates

Published 10:52 pm Friday, October 20, 2017

Voters will get their chance to meet and question the candidates in the special election to fill the unexpired term of former District 54 Rep. Alex Monsour at two candidate forums set for Monday and Thursday.

Both events begin at 6 p.m. in the circuit courtroom on the second floor of the Warren County Courthouse.

Three candidates have qualified for the election —Vicksburg contractor Joe Bonelli, physician Dr. Randy Easterling and Kevin Ford, owner of the Ford Insurance Agency. The special election for House District 54 is Nov. 7 and is a nonpartisan race. If needed, a runoff will be Nov. 28.

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The Warren County Republican Executive Committee and the Warren County Republican Women’s Club will hold a candidate debate Monday, Republican Executive Committee chairman Eric Biedenharn said.

He said each candidate at the debate will be given six minutes to present their background and platform, and will answer the question, “What are the priority issues facing the legislature this year and what are your positions on them?”

After that, the candidates will answer three questions selected from the public and the executive committee, and have two minutes to answer each question. Each candidate will then be given two minutes for closing remarks.

Each person attending the debate will receive a card as they come in the courtroom, and will be able to write a question for the candidates, Biedenharn said, adding the cards will then be given to the executive committee, which will select the best three questions.

Thursday, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Alumni, Blacks in Government and the Vicksburg Chapter of the NAACP will have a candidate forum featuring the three candidates.

Sorority member Gertrude Young said each candidate will be given five minutes to give an opening speech, and then answer written questions from the audience.

Monsour, a Republican, resigned his seat in the Mississippi House July 5, about a month after defeating then-incumbent South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson in the June 6 municipal general election.

His resignation came after a state Attorney General’s opinion said he could no longer serve as District 54 representative because under the city’s special charter the aldermen has administrative as well as legislative responsibilities.

Prior to winning the alderman’s seat, he had served in the Legislature for 10 years.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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