Residents plan candidate events

Catawba County residents take action and plan two political events to meet candidates running for area offices.
Jennifer Bandy, along with her relatives and other residents, planned two events for the public to meet candidates in an effort to learn more about the people who want to represent the community in various offices.
"During the primaries, I was trying to educate myself, family and friends (on candidates) and found it difficult to find information," Bandy said. "I went to a couple of meet and greets and thought it was a wonderful event. A bunch of us said 'Let's host one to educate the people of Catawba County on our local elections."
Candidates not invited to the event include the U.S. representatives. Bandy said information on the U.S. candidates are easily accessible. Also, planners for the events wanted to speak with candidates in Catawba County's government that "effect (residents) directly."
After two weeks of planning, Bandy said the response from invited candidates is "incredible."
Bandy said about 60 percent of candidates running for local offices responded to confirm their participation. However, most unopposed candidates are not attending the events.
"All candidates need to come and meet with the people," Bandy said. "Let (the people) know who you are. There will come a day when (unopposed candidates) will run against someone."
The first event is planned for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at St. John's Lutheran Church, 2126 St. John's Church Road in Conover. Those attending this event include candidates for Catawba County Schools Board of Education, sheriff candidate Coy Reid, district attorney candidates Jason Parker and Timothy Rohr, N.C. Senate candidates, N.C. House of Representative candidates and Cliff Isaac, a candidate for the Soil and Water Conservation District.
The second event is at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28, also at the church in Conover. Isaac also plans to attend the second candidate event while no response was received from his opponents, Chris "Chopper" Fulbright and J. Phillip Elrod II, as of press time Friday. Other candidates schedule will be state and local judges, Catawba County commissioner candidates, sheriff candidate Doris Kirby and District Attorney Jay Gaither.
Each candidate will have 3 to 5 minutes to answer three questions. The candidates will not receive the questions until the night of the event. The public will be allowed to ask candidates questions individually after the event.
"We want to keep this respectable for everyone involved," Bandy said. "There is no set time for the event to end. We aren't going to rush anyone out."
This non-partison candidate event is simply to educate voters, Bandy said.
"It's really important to us to get people to know who the people are running for office," she said. "We want everyone to come, and everyone to be heard."