Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Get ready for the Milton debate, Oct 18.

October 10, 2011

Courtesy Jonathan Copsey; The Milton Herald

I'm always a little surprised by just how exciting local politics can be.

For anyone who pays much attention to the 24-hour news cycle on TV, you might come away with the thought that politics is nothing but attacking your opponent, constantly making digs at them, always looking for that edge and always campaigning.

It turns out Washington politics bears little resemblance to local politics.

When I first came to North Fulton, it was an election year (when is it not?) and I was down in Roswell. I was immediately struck by the general tone; it was polite, courteous, full of excitement. Supporters were joyful for their candidate and respectful of their opponent's supporters (but that didn't stop them from a little ribbing). There were no angry protesters; no random outbursts of anger toward any one candidate. There was not even a single placard to be seen.

All in all, I felt a little disappointed. Hollywood and big media had lied to me.

So fast forward a few years, and now here I am in Milton and, once again, it's election season. The excitement is already beginning to build in the city, with campaign signs popping up along the roads overnight like mushrooms. At any gathering of people within the city, the candidates are always on the tips of their tongues -- "Who are you voting for?" or "Who is the best candidate for me?"

It was with the coming election in mind that the Milton Herald teamed up with Tim Enloe of to put on the city's only candidate debate this season – the Milton People's Forum.

Tim and I have both put on debates in the past, however they had much different formats and strengths. So now that we both cover the same city, it only made sense to pool our resources and expertise to put on one great show.

Candidates will answer many of the pressing questions facing the city today as they are asked by myself and one other moderator. Each candidate will have exactly 90 seconds to respond to the questions – no more. Their opponent will have 30 seconds to respond, and the original candidate will have a 30-second rebuttal. The idea is to keep candidates from waxing poetic and boring the audience – keep it moving, is my motto. Keep it flowing. We cover more ground, faster.

Candidates will even have the opportunity to ask questions of each other, in a more personal style.

No candidate promotional material is allowed – so everyone can relax and enjoy what they have to say without feeling pressured.

So mark your calendars! Milton People's Forum on Oct. 18 at Stonecreek Church, 13540 Hwy. 9 North, Milton, starting at 6:30 p.m.

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