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Political forum draws capacity voter crowd

A full house at the Barnesville Civic Center Tuesday night heard lively and interesting comments from two candidates for county commission District 3 and three candidates for Lamar County Sheriff. Van Baker and Aaron Brown, commission candidates, led off with opening statements citing their backgrounds, qualifications and desire to serve. ”I’ll be honest and straightforward,” Baker said. “I’ll probably make you angry, but I will follow my conscience.” Brown cited a long record of military and community service, saying that when he and his wife Dorothy Carter moved to Lamar County (her home), “we hit the ground running” with many leadership posts. He served 25 years in the United States Air Force in several administrative positions. The “debate” for commission was characterized by congeniality and humor. Neither candidate elected to ask the other questions, with Brown commenting on Baker’s usual casual wear: “I’m just glad you showed up in long pants.” In contrast, the remarks among the candidates for sheriff were occasionally contentious, especially between Joe Buice and Brad White. Buice’s opening statement cited his many years of law enforcement experiences “while the other two were still young and at home.” He said his wounding as a Spalding deputy had made him “speak of God’s love and grace at every opportunity.” He said he is the most qualified candidate. Usher pleaded in his opening statement for community cooperation to prevent crime by “giving our youth something to do to keep the out of trouble.” His law enforcement credentials included training in crisis intervention, domestic violence and hostage negotiation and as a juvenile correction officer. White outlined his law enforcement experience including police chief in Milner and major in the Lamar County sheriff’s department. He challenged former sheriff Buice on his past record, saying the present SO “had to restore relationships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.” For a complete report on the forum, see the Oct. 16 print edition of The Herald Gazette.

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