Candidates set to square off

By Andy Winemiller -

Whether viewed in-person or live on Facebook, a Mount Airy News candidates forum will be a must-see event.

On Thursday The News will host its second candidates forum of the 2016 general election, and a nearly full slate of candidates for local offices and state offices representing the area is expected to attend.

The forum will kick off at 6 p.m. at North Surry High School in Mount Airy. The venue for the event has changed, as it will now be held in the school’s cafeteria.

State Sen. Shirley Randleman and State Rep. Sarah Stevens, both of whom are Republicans, will be in attendance. Stevens’ Democratic opponent Vera Smith Reynolds will square off against the veteran member of the N.C. House of Representatives. Randleman’s opponent, Michael Holleman, has also confirmed he will be at the forum.

Surry County Commissioner Van Tucker and his Democratic opponent for the East District seat on the Surry County Board of Commissioners, Ronald Bowman, will also answer questions at the forum.

Additionally, the majority of candidates for a school board race in Elkin and municipal races in Elkin and Pilot Mountain will attend the event in hopes of reaching voters with their messages.

Some candidates who are unable to attend plan to provide statements to be read at the forum.

The evening should be packed with good information for those deciding which way to cast their votes in the November general election. The forum is also a free event.

“As Surry County’s largest media outlet, we feel it is our duty to provide the public with a wealth of information prior to heading to the polls,” said News editor John Peters. “The forum should be a great opportunity for voters to gather information about each candidate and his or her stances on the issues.”

The forum will be moderated by Mount Airy News and Elkin Tribune staff and reported in The News, The Tribune and The Pilot. It will feature four to six questions for each candidate for office and opening and closing statements. About 20 minutes will be devoted to each race.

Those who can’t make the trip to North Surry Thursday evening don’t necessarily have to miss out on the opportunity to see candidates discuss the issues. A new twist is being offered.

The News will stream the forum live on its Facebook page. Those who intend to tune into the debate in that manner should visit the page, The entire forum may be viewed in that manner.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.