Election season is in full swing and city, county and school board candidates are beginning to spin their respective messages.

Several local organizations and civic clubs are planning candidate forums over the course of the next several weeks.

On Thursday night, May 5, city office and Athens Independent School District candidates will square off in the Athens Daily Review Election 2011 Debate, at the Cain Center. Everyone is invited to attend.

The first debate of the evening will feature AISD School Board Candidates Alicea Elliot and Tilo Galvan, both of whom would like fill the board seat currently held by Jennie Mahmoud. 

After serving for several years on the board, Mahmoud decided not run for re-election, citing the need to spend more time with family.

Immediately following the school board candidates will be Athens City Council candidate Ridge Tardy, who is facing off against Place 1 Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Don Vaught.  The Place 1 council race has garnered a lot of media attention as it pits the long-time incumbent, Vaught, against the 18 year-old Tardy, who will graduate from Edgewood High School in May of this year.

Finishing the forum will be incumbent Randy Daniel, who is being challenged by local business man Joe Whatley for his seat in the Mayor’s Office.

Both Daniel and Whatley are native Athenians with strong ties in the community, and the race is shaping up to be the most competitive city race in many years. 

Among the issues the city candidates will be debating are economic development and revitalization in and around Athens, as well as the proposed sale of beer and wine in the city. 

The Beer and Wine proposal is a separate ballot issue, and will be voted on in the May 14 election.

Chief among the items  debated by the school board candidates will be the proposed $6.5 million school bond.  AISD has tried, on several occasions, to pass school-funding bonds over the past several years, with all but one attempt having been rejected by voters.  Bond proceeds would be used to fund renovations at Bel-Air Elementary.

Debates start at 6 p.m., and will be held in the Cain Center Community Room.  A debate moderator has been appointed, and will issue all questions to the candidates. 

If you have ideas for pertinent debate questions, please e-mail them to jhumphries@athensreview.com, or visit the ADR Facebook page, and submit your question to us in a message. 

As always, you can also drop your questions off at the Review.


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