Six Columbia County candidates are expected to square off tonight in a public forum, giving voters a chance to hear their views on an array of local issues.
The forum, sponsored by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and The Columbia County News-Times will be held 6 p.m., at the Evans government complex auditorium.
Candidates for two commission seats and one school board district will answer questions from the Chamber and the News-Times, and also field written questions taken from the audience.
Those who have agreed to attend the forum include incumbent county Commission Chairman Ron Cross and his opponent Jim Bartley, a local builder and political activist.
Also, both candidates who qualified to replace outgoing District 1 Commissioner Ron Thigpen have agreed to attend. Doug Duncan, a vice president with Augusta staffing firm MAU Inc., will face Hafeez Chaudhry, a Martinez businessman and hotel developer.
The only contested race for the county Board of Education is in District 3, represented by incumbent Mike Sleeper. He will face a political newcomer, Staten Heard, a retired logistics executive who worked for General Motors and EZ-GO Textron.
Both have agreed to attend the forum.
Seating is limited, but for those who cannot attend, the News-Times will post a video of the forum on the newspaper Web site later this week.