Countdown to Election Day

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

They've put up their signs, produced their political ads and rallied their supporters. With less than three weeks left before the General Election you may think there's nothing more for a candidate to do.

But some local candidates are still trying to spread their campaign message.

There have been countless candidate forums for voters to get to know Bay County candidates, but one more can't hurt.

This time around young Democrats and Republicans at Gulf Coast Community College hosted the forum. This was the first time both candidates for Property Appraiser attended the same forum.

John Newberry, who has not attended a forum to date, touched on his 20 years of experience in property appraising and his experience as a licensed instructor of real estate.

Incumbent Rick Barnett pointed out that while in office, Bay County was the second county in the state to upgrade technology so people could file online.

One of the more hotly contested races is for the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

Both Candidates bring years of experience in law enforcement and are leaders at their respective agencies.

Frank McKeithen has focused on an escalating meth problem in our county, but David Slusser says other drugs cannot be ignored.

Slusser also says drugs are the number one cause of most violent crimes, but McKeithen says domestic violence should be the county's number one concern when it comes to violent crimes.

Candidates for superintendent of Bay County schools also faced off at the forum. When asked what are the top two issues of concern in Bay County schools today incumbent James McCalister said following the “No Child Left Behind” policies and special training for staff.

Challenger Jim Barr said student performance and budget management.

"One thing our students and parents want to know is if they're getting a great education when they come to one of our schools. I think they have been getting that for the past four years, and I plan on them getting it for the next four years," says McCalister.

“I really believe in inspired leadership. I think it's so important to our young people and I think I can bring that to the Bay District School system," says Barr.

Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 18.


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