GETT Moving of Anniston, R.E.A.L. Men of Anniston and Women Empowered have banded together to host the forums, said John Blue, one of the founding members of GETT Moving.
The groups got together because they have a common mission to encourage people to get involved in government, Blue said. The forums will be one way for residents to get started in that process, he said.
In preparation for the forums, each group formulated questions that were combined into a single questionnaire. The questionnaire was sent to everyone who has expressed an interest in running for city office and the group is checking each day to see if there are new candidates, Blue said. After qualifying closes on July 17, the candidates’ answers will be released to the public to allow people to get to know the candidates, Blue said.
Until then, the answers are being closely guarded, he added.
So far, the group has had a good response from the candidates.
“Most of them are in hand,” Blue said.
The group has asked former Anniston journalist Mike Stedham, now of Jacksonville State University, and political scientist Natalie Davis from Birmingham-Southern College to moderate the forums. The moderators will control the meetings and ask questions, but at some point the floor will be opened to residents who want to ask questions as well, Blue said.
Blue said he also expects that candidates will hang around after the forum ends to talk to residents.
The forums will be hosted in each ward with City Council and Board of Education candidates attending the meeting in their ward. The at-large Board of Education and mayoral candidates will meet at the City Meeting Center. All meetings will begin at 6 p.m.
HERE'S THE SCHEDULE
• Ward 4, July 19, Norwood Hodges Community Center, 6 p.m.
• Ward 3, July 26, South Highland Community Center, 6 p.m.
• Ward 2, July 31, 17th Street Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
• Ward 1, Aug. 2, First Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m.
• At-large, mayoral, Aug. 7, City Meeting Center, 6 p.m.
Star staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545.