Sheriff and County Commissioner candidates sound off

Sheriff Bill Schatzman and Challenger Bobby Kimbrough

Sheriff and County Commissioner candidates sound off
October 25
03:00 2018

Candidates for sheriff and county commissioners told voters why they deserve their vote during the final forum held last Wednesday by the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce at Forsyth Tech’s West Campus.

The sheriff candidates were Sheriff Bill Schatzman and his Democratic challenger Bobby Kimbrough. Schatzman, who was first elected in 2002, said his department deals with cybercrime, identify theft, everyday crime and drug related offenses regularly. He emphasized the responsibility of parents, schools and churches in raising children to avoid a life of crime and not use drugs. He said the Sheriff’s Office does outreach in the schools to encourage kids to stay on the straight and narrow.

“You can’t arrest your way out of social ills,” said Schatzman.

Kimbrough, a former DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent, said that the epidemic of opioid addiction, along with drugs and gangs in schools, are major issues in the county.  He emphasized collaboration with other agencies, including putting local officers on federal task forces, which would allow the department to receive a percentage of asset forfeitures. He also said community relations were vital to the work of the Sheriff’s Office.

“We’ve got to go back and strengthen our communities and recognize that we all have a say in this because it’s our community,” he said.

For At-Large County Commissioner, there was Democratic incumbent Ted Kaplan and challengers Republican A.L. “Buddy” Collins and Green Party Candidate Keenen Altic.

Kaplan said the county plays a vital role in economic growth by using incentives to attract and retain businesses. The county helps to educate and train the future workforce by funding public schools and Forsyth Technical Community College. He said Forsyth Tech will soon break ground on an Aviation Career Development Center at Smith Reynolds Airport, which is owned by the county. He said managing the county’s growth is one of the commissioner’s biggest challenges.

“Part of that is going to be new school facilities, which the county commissioners are involved in,” said Kaplan. “Some of it’s going to be in welfare issues, some of it is public health and mental health.”

Collins said the county needs both a stable tax rate and steady tax base. He said it needs an educated, trained workforce that’ll be attractive to companies that want to come to Forsyth County. He said schools need to be a priority and that there is no excuse for hungry children with unmet medical needs in Forsyth County. A former state and local school board member, Collins criticized the county for relying on the quarter-cent sales tax referendum to fund teacher pay increases.

“To the extent that our teachers need supplement pay increases, that should be part of the budget from the get-go and not afterwards,” he said.

Altic touched on numerous issues including affordable housing, education, a living wage and local eviction rates. He said working people need to be united so they can establish workplace democracy and democratic ownership of resources. He emphasized economic inequality in his remarks.

“There’s not been a recovery for the working people since the capitalist crash of 2008 in which we bailed them out and the 99 percent didn’t get bailed out,” said Altic. “The wealthiest 1 percent now own more than the bottom 90 percent.”

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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