Human Relations Commission to host mayoral debate
By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
May 9, 2001
Dr. Kathy Baxter hopes a May 28 mayoral debate sponsored by the Human Relations Commission will give voters a deeper insight into the four candidates' opinions on important issues.
The debate is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. in Emma McCain Theater on the campus of Meridian Community College.
The four mayoral candidates are Republican incumbent Mayor John Robert Smith, Democratic challenger William Hugh Johnson and Independents Bill McBride and Charlie Haynes.
Baxter said candidates for contested city council seats have also been invited to spar during a second round of debates that evening.
The contested council races include: Ward 3 where incumbent Barbara Henson, a Republican, faces Independent Lee Fryery; Ward 4 where incumbent Jesse E. Palmer, a Democrat, faces Independent John Nelson Jr.; and Ward 5 where incumbent Bobby Smith, a Republican, faces a challenge from Independent Todd Vallot.
The commission, an arm of the Lauderdale County Council of Governments, intends to allow each candidate a two-minute opening statement, continue with questions from media representatives and conclude with questions from the audience.
Candidates will be given one minute to answer questions, said Baxter, a member of the commission. WTOK-TV's director of news and community relations, John Johnson, will moderate the debate.
Baxter said the public is invited to attend all segments of the forum, but questions will only be taken in written form.
Baxter said she is hoping for and expecting very tough questions for all the candidates.
The general election is June 5.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at email@example.com.