The six candidates vying for the Ward 4 council seat will have one last chance to speak to voters Sunday night before the special election on Tuesday.
Tiffany Turner, Ward 4 resident, is hosting Tiffany’s Tea at Genesis Church, 1820 23rd St. N., at 4 p.m. Sunday. Turner said she contacted the candidates for Ward 4, Pierre Beard Sr., Andrita Leigh Brown, Pat Fisher Douglas, Dorothy McClung Lewis, Kegdra Gibbs-Gray and Lavonne Latham Harris. She added she does not know who will all will attend but expects everyone, except Brown who will be out of town, to be there.
Turner said during the forum’s first 20 minutes audience members will “mix and mingle” with candidates. While community members are speaking with their potential councilman, they will be writing questions and concerns for the moderator to ask.
“It’s going to be pretty fast-paced,” Turner said. “It’s going to be a little different from your average forum-style, a little relaxed. We want to keep it fast-paced so nobody gets bored.”
Candidates will have one minute to answer submitted questions, as well as one minute for rebuttal if one of their opponents’ answers merits it.
Zack Plair, managing editor for The Dispatch, will serve as the moderator for the forum.
The special election comes after former Ward 4 Councilman Fred Jackson resigned mid-term in July. His term was set to expire June 2021.
“We try to give the community a chance to come out and meet with these candidates,” Turner said. “This was a pretty swift election. It happened suddenly and a special election doesn’t allow for a lot of campaigning and it doesn’t allow for a whole lot of canvassing. We want give people an opportunity to actually come out and meet these people before they cast their vote. For those still unsure or uncertain, this will serve as a vehicle for them to come out.”
Turner said she wanted to keep the forum fair and balanced, giving voters an insight on those vying to represent Ward 4.
“This is a community that will be impacted tremendously by whoever is leading it,” Turner said. “We definitely want to make sure we are there engaging in this election. We want to make sure we give (each candidate) a fair chance. We want to hear each and every one of them out and let them get a chance to tell their platform or their story on why they are running.”
With tea, refreshments and music playing during the forum, Turner said she hopes to create a more inviting environment for the residents of Ward 4 and those hoping to lead it as a member of council.
“There’s a disconnect between elected officials and the community,” she added. “Not enough people in the community get a chance to voice how they feel or even meet elected officials. That’s the reason we started to try to get the two engaged in dialect in an unofficial platform. Sometimes people get unconformable or they feel they can’t approach someone. This kind of takes that stigma away.
“(People) want to know who is representing them,” she added. “It’s important that they get an opportunity to do that.”
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