The forum, which allowed citizens to get to know a little bit about the candidates, was sponsored by the Bolivar County Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
The candidates in attendance ranged from seeking election to the U.S. House of representatives all the way to county school board.
Henry Phillips, a representative for the current second congressional district Representative Bennie Thompson, spoke first.
“I’m here before you to ask you to continue to do what you have been doing for 17 years and vote for Bennie Thompson,” said Phillips. “He has always lived in the second congressional district and he has always been on the right side of the important issues for the second congressional district.
“He was doing things for people (here) long before he ran for office,” Phillips continued. “Let’s continue to send one of us back to Washington.”
The other candidates seeking this position were not at the forum, though they were invited.
The Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge candidates for the first seat of District II were presented next.
“I was elected (to this position) 12 years ago,” said incumbent Tyree Irving. “(As judges) we don’t run as Democrats or Republicans.
“Judges only make one promise — that is to be fair,” he continued. “We are to make sure we do justice fairly and impartially.”
Irving said he had been doing just that for the last 12 years.
Ceola James, who is vying for Irving’s position, was not at the meeting.
Two candidates vying for the first seat of the Seventh District Chancery Court Judgeship were in attendance last night.
Catherine Farris-Carter spoke first.
“I make a pledge to each one of you,” Carter began. “I want to be a justice (who will do) what is right.
“When you stand before me, I look at the facts,” she continued. “I will always treat you fairly.”
Tom Ross then stood up to address the audience.
“This is my first time running for anything,” Ross said. “I run my campaign on the premise that I have experience, that I am qualified and that I will be fair.”
He encouraged everyone there to ask those he has worked with in Coahoma County about his fairness.
“I will put my reputation for fairness on what they say,” he said.
One candidate for the first seat of the Eleventh District Circuit Court Judgeship attended the forum.
“Our platform (as judges) can only be fairness in (how we) render justice,” said incumbent Albert B. “Al” Smith.
Smith described the work he has put into his position since he was first voted into office, including establishing a drug court to help rehabilitate non-violent, drug using offenders.
Charles B. Graves, who is vying for Smith’s seat, was not present.
Both of the candidates for Bolivar County Court Judge were present.
Aelicia Thomas spoke first.
“The County Court Judge (seat) is two fold,” she said. “First there is the criminal and civil and the second part is serving as youth court judge.
“To me, this is the most important part,” said Thomas. “I will work my hardest to bring as many prevention and proactive programs into the county as I can get my hands on.
“As all the judges have said, we must be fair,” she said as she ensured the crowd she would be fair, if elected.
Incumbent Gwendolyn Thomas spoke next.
“My first goal is to be fair, impartial and just,” said Gwendolyn Thomas. “In youth court, I will do what is in the best interest of the children.
“My platform is what it has been as long as I’ve been in office — being fair,” she said.
Candidates for the special election being held for Eleventh Circuit District Attorney position along with two candidates for the West Bolivar School District Board of Trustees also spoke last night.
See tomorrow’s edition of The Bolivar Commercial for more on the public forum.