'Town Hall' meeting scheduled

ALBANY, Ga. -- Meeting the candidates, hearing their ideas and questioning them should be on every voter's mind, said Jon Howard, an Albany City commissioner.

To give the public an opportunity to meet candidates in the November election, Howard expanded his monthly "Town Hall" meeting by having it at the Albany Police Department Law Enforcement Center at 10 a.m. Saturday. Candidates who plan to be at the meeting include U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, and state Rep. Winfred Dukes, D-Albany.

"When they go to the polls voters need to be knowledgeable about the candidate's plans and ideas," Howard said. "This is an opportunity for voters to hear the candidates, meet and socialize with candidates seeking federal, state and local political offices."

Howard said Bishop's challenger, Mike Keown, R-Coolidge, had a previously scheduled conflicting engagement. Dukes' opponent, Karen Kemp, R-Albany, did not respond to an inquiry as to whether she planned to participate. Bishop "looks forward to attending the meeting Saturday," said Tim Turner, the congressman's campaign communications director. "Meeting people is the way the congressman learns how to vote on legislation for the people in the Second District."

Other candidates who Howard listed as attending were Dougherty County School Board member Milton Griffin and Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes. Griffin is being challenged by Republican Donnie Smith, while Hayes' faces Smith's husband, Lonnie Smith. Howard did not list the Smiths as having confirmed to attend.

"This is an opportunity," Howard said.