Candidates discuss issues at Natchez Senior Center

Published 1:15 am Saturday, June 30, 2007

NATCHEZ — Tents filled the yard, volunteers sliced watermelons and hot dogs sizzled Friday.

A carnival air pervaded the lawn, and a casual passerby might think it was a party.

Except for all the signs.

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The Natchez Senior Citizen Center hosted a forum Friday where seniors listened to candidates’ goals.

Many candidates had tents set up with cardboard signs splashed with their names.

Roughly 25 of the 47 candidates running in the upcoming county election came to shake hands and share ideas.

The reason?

“Seniors are all going to vote,” said Mike Lazarus, candidate for District 1 supervisor. “They take elections seriously. They’ve been around and know what Adams County used to be. They deserve all our respect.”

Friday’s was the first large, organized forum for county candidates at the senior center, Senior Center Director Sabrina Bartley said.

“(Seniors) realize that the voice of the people is through voting,” Bartley said. “We decided to provide an opportunity for them to meet the candidates, practice using the (electronic) voting machines and ask questions.”

Carrie Young, a Natchez resident, said she was there to hear the candidates’ different perspectives.

“I can’t tell you why I like to come to these,” Young said. “But you never get too old to learn.”

Ollie Angelethy said he wanted to hear the candidates’ different speeches.

“I’ve been a voter here since 1953,” Angelethy said.

The forum was useful, he said, “so you can have an idea who you want to vote for. When you vote, you have a voice in government.”

The forum was pretty successful, event coordinator Edwina Petersen said. Petersen said she was glad to help people get involved in the election process.

“I think we need to be part of the community and make educated choices in who we want to run our community,” Petersen said.

Although she’s retiring this month, the center will likely have another forum for next year’s city elections, Petersen said.