By Lynn Jones – The African Methodist Episcopal Ministers Alliance held a political forum for local and state candidates this week. Held on Monday evening in the sanctuary of Wayman Temple A.M.E. Church West Campus location, the forum featured candidates from several races.
The ‘Before you Vote, Hear and Speak’ forum allowed candidates to interact directly with voters and give insight on their background and vision for their office.
Congressional District 5 candidates in attendance included former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and current US Rep. and incumbent, Al Lawson who will compete in the Democratic primary. Also in attendance was the lone Republican in the race, Virginia Fuller.
The Florida House of Representatives District 14 race only featured one candidate in attendance, School Board Chairwoman Paula Wright (DEM), the incumbent, Kim Daniels did not attend.
Another highly contested race, Duval County School Board District 4 candidates in attendance was Linda Butler, Erdine Johnson, Cynthia Smith and Darryl Willie. The lone candidate for Duval County Tax Collector in attendance was former State Rep. Mia Jones.
Lining the vestibule of the venue were candidates flyers, posters and lawn signs for voters to distribute throughout local neighborhoods. “This forum is a way to meet and greet the candidates as well as find out their strategies for each district,” said Sandra Copeland. She added, “We keep electing the same individuals and no work is ever getting done.” Local news anchor Ken Amaro moderated the forum and tried to ensure that all candidates in attendance had an opportunity to address the audience.
An AME Bishop was on the front pew tracking time for each candidate’s response. The format consisted of initial candidate remarks and questions from the moderator. Candidates were asked prepared questions on issues important to their districts and community. At the end, candidates were given eauql time to provide closing statements. Shown are voters discussing the forum and upcoming election (l-r) Lana Wright, Charles Wright and George Reed Jr.
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