Candidates on the Aug. 7 ballot in all of the judicial and a handful of Wilson County-specific races turned out for a political forum Thursday morning at Cumberland University.
Held by the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, the forum gave each candidate two minutes to discuss a platform and explain why he or she was running for office.
Current chamber president John Bryan introduced past president Chris Crowell, who served as moderator for the event.
“This is a big year,” Crowell said. “We have a lot of people on the ballot this year.”
Crowell then recognized Judge Clara Byrd, Judge Barry Tatum, Judge John Gwinn, as well as Sheriff Robert Bryan, who are each unopposed heading into the Aug. 7 election.
Crowell then brought the candidates to the podium to allow for their two-minute address.
Those participating in the forum included:
• incumbent C.K. Smith and challenger Gordon Aulgur for chancellor.
• incumbent John Wootten Jr. and challenger Aubrey Givens for Division II circuit court judge.
• Brian Fuller and Brody Kane for District 15 criminal court judge. A lack of incumbent opened in the race when Judge David Durham announced his retirement earlier this year.
• Bud Brandon, Jeff Dickson, Felicia Plumlee Hale and Debbie Moss for circuit court clerk. A lack of incumbent opened in the race when Linda Neal announced she would not seek a second term.
• incumbent Jim Major and challenger Nick Hays for Wilson County trustee.
• Haywood Barry, Harry Christensen, Shelley Gardner Thompson, Ellis “Trey” Marshall and Andy Wright for Division II general sessions judge. A lack of incumbent opened in the race when Judge Robert Hamilton announced his retirement earlier this year.
• Jacob Austin and William Robert Manley for Zone 1 constable.
Two additional forums are scheduled for July. The next forum will be July 10 at 5:30 p.m. at West Wilson Middle School in Mt. Juliet. This forum will consist of candidates running for state Senate, state House, Wilson County Commission on the west side of the county and Wilson County Board of Education, Zone 4.
The final forum will be July 15, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at Winfree Bryant Middle School. This forum will consist of candidates running for state House, Wilson County Commission on the east side of the county, Wilson County Board of Education, Zone 2 and Zone 5 and Lebanon Board of Education.
The intent of the forums is to permit the candidates an opportunity to share their ideas and qualifications for serving in these important government roles.
“This is an important opportunity for voters to learn firsthand about candidates’ seeking office.” said Bryan. “As a result we feel that we are helping citizens make informed decisions when they head to the polls.”
The forums are free, and the public is encouraged to attend.