VALDOSTA — The late author Louis L’Amour once observed that it takes a nation of participants to make a democracy work. Participating in the process means getting educated on issues and the candidates who are putting them forward.

To that end, the Home Builders Association of South Georgia Inc. has joined with other sponsors to host the South Georgia Political Forum of Candidates for State and Local Offices on Thursday. The event will be held in memory of Virginia Branan, a former president of the American Association of University Women who recently passed away.

Bruce Bailey, a Home Builders Association member, said discussions began months ago about the big field of candidates running for local and state offices. Many of the candidates in contested races are unfamiliar to local voters. Bailey contacted the AAUW and the Lowndes County Democratic and Republican

parties to gauge those organizations’ interest in sponsoring a forum where voters could meet the candidates for themselves.

“We got the ball rolling, and then these other groups came in and joined us,” Bailey said. “We were excited about being able to participate.”

During the nonpartisan event, candidates will introduce themselves with an opening statement. Then a moderator will take questions from the audience and address them to either individuals or a group of candidates seeking a seat.

Participating will be candidates in races for Lowndes County Board of Commissioners Districts 2 and 3; State Senate District 8; and State Representative Districts 174, 175 and 176.

Other sponsors include the VSU College Campus Democrats and Republicans, Sigma Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International and the Valdosta State University Political Science Department.

The forum begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Pound Hall on Valdosta State University’s North Campus.

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