Public Forum Held, Many Candidates are No-Shows
Over 75 people gathered at the Piggott Community Center on Monday evening for a public forum. The event had been planned as an effort to educate local voters on the many choices they will face in the upcoming General Election. The forum was organized by Joe Cole and Fred Ort, who went to great strides to insure there was no bias shown toward any of the candidates appearing. They also drafted several questions pertinent to each of the featured races.
All that was missing from the gathering was a full slate of candidates, as many chose not to attend to present their platform and field questions from the public.
Ort welcomed those in attendance, and explained the format which would be used. He noted each candidate would be allowed 10 minutes to present their platform, and address the questions which had been posed.
Cole then provided those in attendance with an overview of the five amendments which appear on this year's statewide ballot. The candidates were then introduced, and allowed to speak, based on the order their names appear on the upcoming election ballot.
The first race featured was for Piggott Mayor, with incumbent Jim Poole addressing those in attendance. According to Cole, challenger Travis Williams was contacted but chose not to appear at the forum.
The South Ward Piggott City Council race was then highlighted, with two of the candidates addressing the crowd. The first speaker was incumbent Jamey Parks, followed by challenger Jimmy Chilcutt. The third man in the race, Brent Sanders, also chose not to participate.
The Piggott City Clerk race was also featured, with incumbent Ramona Magee giving a short address. Once again the challenger, Julie McMillon, chose not to appear.
Later, both candidates for Piggott City Council from the North Ward did take to the stage. It proved to be the only race in which both were in attendance and reviewed their platforms. The first to speak was incumbent councilman Mike Cook, followed by his challenger, Kevin Jones.
The only contested countywide race was also featured, but again the challenger to the incumbent was not in attendance. Taking to the stage to address the crowd was county assessor Tracy Gurley, although challenger Erica Snow was not on hand for the event.
The incumbent State Representative was also at the forum, as Joe Jett addressed those in attendance. His challenger, Ryan Carter of Corning, apparently chose not to participate.
Those gathered also heard from two county officials who are not facing opposition, as Judge Mike Patterson and Sheriff Terry Miller addressed the forum.
The event organizers also provided voter registration information to those attending the forum.