Mayoral debate, Oct. 18

Published 11:02 am Wednesday, October 12, 2011

AHOSKIE – In less than one month, voters in the Roanoke-Chowan area’s largest municipality will go to the polls to decide who will serve as Ahoskie’s mayor for the next four years.

In advance of making this decision, Ahoskie citizens are encouraged to attend a mayoral debate scheduled for a 7 p.m. start on Tuesday, Oct. 18 in the Roanoke-Chowan Room (ground floor) of the Ahoskie Inn.

All three candidates  – incumbent Linda Blackburn and challengers Brien Lassiter and David Robertson – have been issued invitations to participate.

This mayoral debate is sponsored by the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce and the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald.

Prior to the debate, the Roanoke Chowan News Herald will solicit written questions from the general public.  These questions can be e-mailed to, mailed to PO Box 1325, Ahoskie, NC 27910 or hand delivered to the News Herald office located at the intersection of Catherine Creek Road and Main Street in downtown Ahoskie.

The editorial staff at the News Herald and the staff at the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce will review the submitted questions to determine which will be used in the debate.  The questions will not be disclosed to the candidates or the public prior to the debate.

Jack Owens, owner of Owens Financial of Gatesville, will serve as the moderator. Owens serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Gates County Chamber of Commerce. He is in his first term as a Gates County Commissioner.

The debate will use the following schedule:

7-7:10 p.m. – Each candidate will be allowed an opening statement not to exceed three minutes to express their reasons for running for office and outlining their specific qualifications which would make them an effective mayor.

7:10-8 p.m. – Questions will be tendered to each candidate by the moderator. Candidates will limit their responses to two minutes. Rebuttals will be allowed each candidate as necessary.

8-8:20 p.m. – Questions will be tendered to each candidate from written questions submitted to the moderator prior to 7 p.m. from the audience.  These questions should be signed by the submitter so they may be recognized by the moderator.  Candidates will limit responses to two minutes.

8:20-8:30 p.m. – Each candidate will be allowed two minutes for closing remarks.

The candidates have been asked to conduct themselves in a civil and courteous manner and to refrain from personal attacks, indecent remarks or inappropriate language.  All responses must be impromptu and unaided by the use of audio/visual media, photos, charts, newspapers or handouts. Candidates who violate the rules and provisions will be disqualified and not allowed to participate in the debate.

Candidates and their supporters are asked not to actively campaign at the debate site at the Ahoskie Inn prior to or during the actual debate.  Candidates will be allowed to place campaign materials on a designated table outside of the debate room for distribution after the debate.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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