By Lee Bratcher / OC Monitor
HARTFORD, Ky. — The Beaver Dam Woman’s Club and Ohio County Chamber of Commerce joined together to hold a candidates forum last Thursday in the auditorium of the Ohio County Community Center. In addition to the candidates forum, the Meet, Eat and Greet with the Candidates allowed candidates and their supporters to raise money for scholarships to be given to Ohio County High School seniors.
Before answering the tough questions, candidates were invited to prepare a special dish for those attending the forum. People would taste the dish and vote for their favorite by putting money in a bucket on each candidate’s table. At the end of the night, the money would go to the Beaver Dam Woman’s Club scholarships. The candidate who collected the most money on the night was also announced.
The candidates forum began with Anne Melton, a member of the woman’s club, giving the audience a bit of history about the club and its scholarships. The Beaver Dam Woman’s Club was founded in 1935 and over the years the club has given out many scholarships. In the beginning, the club awarded one $100 scholarship a year, but over the last 20 years, the club has awarded three $1,000 scholarships each year. Besides the scholarships, the woman’s club also gives to local charities.
While all candidates were invited to prepare a dish for the event, only candidates for 14th District State Representative, Ohio County Judge-Executive and Ohio County Jailer were asked questions during the forum.
Candidates were asked a number of questions with each candidate receiving two minutes to answer. After all questions were asked, each candidate had one minute to speak to the crowd.
The moderator for the candidates forum was Judson Hunter, president of the Ohio County Chamber of Commerce. The first candidates to take the stage were the candidates for Ohio County Jailer, Republican Aaron Howard and incumbent Democrat Gerry “Rip” Wright.
Both candidates answered questions about the jail’s security and compliance with state regulations, as well as whether Ohio County needed a new jail or not.
After the jailer candidates finished, Hunter called up the candidates for 14th District State Representative, Republicans Jordan Lanham and Scott Lewis and Democrat Elizabeth Belcher. The 14th District includes all of Ohio County and the southeastern part of Daviess County. Lanham is from Philpot, Kentucky, Belcher is from Owensboro and Lewis is from Beaver Dam.
The state representative candidates faced questions about the state’s pension woes, tax reform and how each candidate would deal with colleagues in Frankfort if elected.
Lastly, the candidates for Ohio County Judge-Executive were called to the stage. Those candidates were Democrats Brandon Thomas and Richard Schaeffer and Republicans Steve Geary, Greg Decker, Bryan Wilson, Robert Seaton and incumbent Judge-Executive David Johnston.
The judge-executive candidates faced questions about dealing with increased retirement costs, decreasing wasteful spending and making Ohio County a more attractive place to do business.
After the candidates forum was complete, Hunter announced the Beaver Dam Woman’s Club collected $504 in donations for scholarships, with Johnston’s table collecting the most money on the night.
To view the candidates forum, see video below.