Galax candidate forum planned

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By April Wright, Reporter

Now is the time to see how present and prospective council members will represent the City of Galax during the next four years, said Brenda Stamey, who has organized a candidate forum.

The Galax City Council election is five weeks away, on May 4. Through a candidate forum, Stamey said, Galax citizens will have a chance to get to know the issues facing the city and the visions of the candidates.

The “Get to Know Your City Council” forum, sponsored by the Twin County Regional Chamber of Commerce, will be held April 28 at the Crossroads Institute at 7 p.m.

The 2010 election is a race between five people for four seats.

The four-year terms of council members John Garner, Derrick Davis, C.M. Mitchell and Willie Greene are set to expire on June 30, and all four are seeking reelection.

Margaret “Margo” Crouse, owner of Margo's Interior Decorating in downtown Galax — and an active member of the Galax Downtown Association and the Twin County Chamber of Commerce — has also been added to the ballot.

“This will increase voter awareness, and voter awareness is my priority,” said Stamey, who first spearheaded the idea during the 2008 election. “We need educated, informed and excited voters. We need to learn why these candidates represent us.”

Galax taxpayers might want to know how the candidates plan to aid in generating tourism, attracting businesses, bringing in new employers and what they envision for the city for the next five years. Through the forum, citizens have the opportunity to find out where these candidates plan to spend their tax money.

Last election, only 447 out of 3,724 registered voters in the city participated in the election.

“Only 12 percent cared enough to go to the polls...,” said Stamey. “When we go to the polls and pull that lever, we're also showing that we support what they have done for us.”

Stamey, innkeeper of The Doctors Inn bed and breakfast in Galax, moved to the area from Miami nearly four years ago. And like most who relocate — and even some who live right in the city — she knew nothing about the council members and the issues they stand for.

“If the city is not behind and supporting local businesses, I might as well leave town,” she said. “I'm passionate about the right to vote.”

Stamey said when council members let the public know what they stand for, it's more likely to grow support for the candidate.

“Letting people know the issues and what causes you're working for increases volunteers,” said Stamey. “People line up to support the cause.”

This forum is a way to reach out to all Galax voters. When voters go to the polls, their vote can be based on an informed decision.

“This forum gives us a chance to see how they represent you, and how they are securing a place for our children and our future,” she said.

Voting will be held May 4 from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. at area polling places.

To submit a question for the candidate forum, send an e-mail to galax@galaxgazette.com. No personal or non-issue-related questions will be answered. “Get to Know Your City Council” will be held April 28 at the Crossroads Institute in Galax at 7 p.m.

The deadline to register to vote in the May 4 election is April 12 at 5 p.m.

The registrar's office is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 p.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 236-7509. The Galax Municipal Building is located at 111 E. Grayson St. in downtown Galax.