Shaking hands and kissing babies, no forum questions or heated debates. Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church provided a relaxed meet and greet event to the community on April 26 in Decatur.
Tinneka Duerson of Stone Mountain praised the church for hosting the event.
“We needed something like this. Sometimes, you never get your question in at the debates and forums, or it is not delivered the way you intended. At meet and greets like this one, you can ask a question and get a direct answer,” said Duerson. “They should do this every election.”
More than 30 DeKalb County candidates running for office set up tables inside the church’s gymnasium in a science fair-type style for dozens of constituents to visit each table, look over pamphlets, fliers and mailers and ask questions.
The relaxed event included an 18-page questionnaire the candidates had answered. The questionnaire with responses from the candidates were passed out to attendees as they walked in. Some of the questions and answers covered were: Do you support or oppose the Affordable Health Care Act? Why? What is your position on the American Jobs Act? and What is your position on the immigration issue?
State Rep. Dee Dawkins Haigler, who is seeking a fourth term in office and faces challenger Diane Adoma for the District 91 seat, said the event also benefits the candidates in other ways.
“This is a great opportunity for candidates to share some camaraderie and fellowship,” said Haigler. “We all have the best interest of the people of Georgia at heart. So, although we may canvass, phone bank and do other forms of campaigning, I think it’s a good thing to come together like this for the people.”
Haigler’s district covers parts of DeKalb and Rockdale.
Five other Democratic incumbent state legislators are being challenged this election cycle: State Rep. Michele Henson, D-86, is facing Democratic challenger Jacqueline Adams; State Rep. Earnest “Coach” Williams, D-87, is in the race with Democratic challenger Ivy Green; and Pam Dickerson, D-113, is facing Democratic candidate Sharon Sawyer in the May 20 Primary.
In November, State Rep. Howard Mosby, D-83, will run in the General Election against Republican Freddy Holly. Karen Bennett, D-94,will run against Republican Bradley Young.
Saga Patel of Decatur says he’ll keep his options open as he heads to the polls, but enjoyed the event overall.
“I don’t plan on doing early voting. I guess you could say I like the rush of being at the polls with all the other voters,” said Patel. “Coming here I was going to just vote for the incumbents, but now I want to go to more events like this to get a better view of where everyone is coming from on the issues.”