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Forums help give candidates voice
Jerry Rhyne, president of the Golden Isles Association of Realtors, didn't need any motivation to attend Thursday's candidate forum at the College of Coastal Georgia.

His organization was one of the sponsors, so he was obligated to attend the forum, which featured candidates for sheriff, school board and county commission.

But that doesn't mean he didn't learn anything while he was there.

Like many in the audience, Rhyne said the forum and others he has attended in recent weeks have helped him make informed decisions on who he will vote for in the July 31 primary elections.

"In one race, there was not a clear-cut winner, but I narrowed it down," he said. "(The forums) gave me a chance to see their personalities and how they conducted themselves during the event."

Carl Futch of Brunswick said he thought the forums were run fairly, even though there were so many candidates that they didn't have enough time to field enough questions for him to determine their positions on some issues.

"The only thing you can do is go to as many forums as you can," he said. "Hopefully, you'll get the answers you're looking for."

Ken Leppard of Brunswick said the forums are very informative. He said they have helped him decide his favorites or, at the very least, enabled him to narrow down his choices.

"I think it's an excellent meeting for people," he said. "It's good for the community."

John Thompson of Waynesville said he has attended several forums to learn the positions of state and federal candidates on veteran and gun rights issues that concern him and said he has decided how he will vote in local races. His only criticism is the number of candidates at some of the forums.

"It was too much at one time," he said. "It should be spaced out more."

Thompson said it's nice to put a face with the campaign signs posted around the county.

Josh Herrin of Brunswick said the forums have been helpful. It's been especially interesting to see how candidates responded to questions, whether they gave clear answers or were evasive.

"A lot of people say what's necessary to get elected," he said.

The best part of the forums is afterward, when he can approach individual candidates to ask them about their positions on issues of concern. He said the candidates he has approached gave him their undivided attention.

"We were their entire world as long as we talked," he said.

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