Church’s meet and greet draws candidates

The congregation was able to speak with the candidates about issues they had.

Church’s meet and greet draws candidates
October 27
02:00 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church held a 2016 Election Candidate Meet & Greet Sunday, Oct. 23 in their fellowship hall to allow the members of their congregation and the surrounding community to get a better idea of who they are voting for.

The church invited all of the North Carolina candidates seeking elected office, from the state representatives, to the U.S. Congress, to the Forsyth County local judges, governmental and school board members.

A number of candidates attended the event from Virginia Foxx (Republican, U.S. House of Representatives, District 5), Walter Smith (Democrat, N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture), Bob Stitcher (Democrat, Forsyth County Board of Commissioners), Bob Edmunds (Incumbent, N.C. Supreme Court), Aaron Berlin (District Court Judge) and Carrie Vickery (District Court Judge).  Candidates in several judges’ races are not allowed to display party affiliation on the ballot.

Mayor Allen Joines was in attendance as well to lend support to the event.

“I think it gives the community an opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with the candidates rather than just looking at a mailing or advertisement,” said Joines. “They can see the candidate and ask the hard questions they want to ask and learn how that candidate feels about a position or issue that is important to the citizens.”

Virginia Foxx stated if she gets the opportunity to represent the 5th District, she will represent everyone in the district.  She said she is delighted to have all of Forsyth County in her district for the first time. Foxx has represented the 5th District since 2005. The eastern part of Forsyth County was in the 12th District until this year, when a federal ruling made state legislators redraw the congressional district lines in the state.

Walter Smith wanted to convey the fact he has been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 34 years and seeks to save the family farms in the state.  He said he wants to make sure the food we eat is safe.  He also stated that he wants to assist in feeding the hungry, which is outside of his department, but this is an issue that he feels passionately about.  He wants to bring more diversity in the department of Agriculture as well.

Forsyth County Board of Commissioners hopeful Bob Stitcher says he wants the people of Forsyth County to know that education is a major priority for him.  He says he wants to dispel the rumor that he is anti-public schools.  He said he has children in the public school system so he has “skin in the game.”

Rev. Dr. Dennis Leach, pastor of Morning Star, said when one of his members came to him with the idea of hosting the candidates, he thought it was a great idea.

“It’s a chance for us to hear them and maybe learn a little bit more about their platform,” Leach said. “We also have to remember how important it is to vote because of those who have come before us who fought, struggled, bled and died for our right to vote.”

N.C. Supreme Court candidate Bob Edmunds says he has been on the court for 16 years and is running on his record and experience.

Edmunds also said, “Coming to an event like this is just the best part of the day.  It’s something candidates look forward to. You get to meet new friendly people. I just love it.”

Aaron Berlin, district court judge candidate, said it’s always been a desire of his to serve and protect the community.  He said the service to others and the safety of our communities have always been important to him.

“I feel like it’s important to give back to the community that I love,” said Berlin.  “I have extensive courtroom experience, more than anyone in the race.”

Berlin also said he enjoys working in the community and being a judge is not just the work you put in inside the courtroom.  He said he worked with a community outreach program to assist in helping individuals get their driver’s licenses back.  Most of the individuals were from low-income households and could not afford to pay the fines to clear their records.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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