The forums are being offered through a partnership by the Bradley County Bar Association and the Cleveland Lions Club.
Tuesday’s opening forum will begin at 6 p.m. Featured candidates will be those seeking legislative offices, according to James F. Logan Jr., a former president of the Cleveland Lions Club and the local Bar Association.
The second forum is set for Thursday, July 12, and will get under way at 6:30 p.m. On tap to present their views to the public will be candidates for the Bradley County Board of Education and the Cleveland City Council.
The third forum will be held Tuesday, July 17, at Cleveland State Community College in the newly renovated Johnson Theatre beginning at 6:30 p.m. Candidates for the congressional races in the 3rd and 4th districts have been invited to appear and present their positions, Logan explained. The proposed Bradley County wheel tax is also expected to be discussed, he added. The hotly debated wheel tax referendum will be included on the August ballot.
Some of the individual races on the August ballot are U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives for the 3rd and 4th Congressional districts, Tennessee Senate for the 10th Senatorial District, Tennessee House of Representatives for the 22nd and 24th Legislative districts, Bradley County Commission (4th District), Bradley County Assessor of Property, Bradley County Board of Education (1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th districts), Charleston City Commission, Cleveland City Council and Cleveland Board of Education (At-Large, 1st and 2nd districts).
U.S. Senate, Congressional and state legislative races will include Republican and Democratic primaries. County races are generals and municipal races are nonpartisan.
“Early voting begins on July 13 and it is the hope of the Bradley County Bar Association and the Cleveland Lions Club that these presentations will allow the voters to cast an informed vote in the upcoming elections,” Logan stressed.
The Cleveland Lions Club is a non-partisan civic organization and the Bradley County Bar Association is a non-partisan professional organization. These groups have combined their efforts to provide these forums as a public service.
According to Bradley County Bar Association President Bill Brown and Lions Club President Buell Connell in a joint statement, “ ... It is the sole desire of these organizations to provide an opportunity for the public to see and hear the candidates and to learn information which will give the public a better understanding of the issues and the positions of the candidates on the issues which confront our local community, our state and our nation.”
Brown and Connell expressed their appreciation to Lee University and Cleveland State Community College for allowing the community to use the spacious facilities of their respective campuses.
Logan will serve as moderator.
“Each member of the voting public is encouraged to be involved in the political process and to attend, watch and listen to the people who have offered themselves to serve as candidates for these critically important positions,” Logan commented. “Locally, statewide and nationally, there are very difficult issues confronting these governmental bodies. For more than 40 years, the Cleveland Lions Club has presented these forums to the citizens of our community and the Bradley County Bar Association has joined in this effort for the past four years. Questions for the candidates may be emailed to MyMix1041.com or to any Lions Club or Bradley County Bar Association member."
WCLE radio station and WTNB television station will broadcast the forums and all media have been invited to attend in order to provide the broadest possible coverage for the voting public, Brown and Connell pointed out.
Once it gets under way Friday, early voting will continue through Saturday, July 28. Hours at all three satellite voting locations will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Early voting satellites will include the Bradley County Election Commission Office in the Courthouse Annex in downtown Cleveland; the Bradley Square Mall in the Convention Center between J.C. Penney and Kay Jewelers; and the BI-LO Shopping Center at McGrady Drive and APD 40 Bypass.
Anyone who does not vote early will have a final opportunity on Election Day which is Thursday, Aug. 2. All polling places will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Voters are reminded of new state laws requiring the presentation of a federal or state-issued photo identification at the polling place.