Islamic Society of Augusta holds forum for Georgia state House candidates

Three candidates vying for the Georgia state House seat being vacated by longtime lawmaker Barbara Sims fielded questions Thursday during a public forum sponsored by the Islamic Society of Augusta.


Lori Greenhill, Wright McLeod and Mark Newton shared their political platforms on issues ranging from medical marijuana and decriminalization to religious freedom and education reform.

McLeod referenced the state constitutional amendment on the ballot in Novem­ber that would give the state control over failing public schools.

“There are 19 of those schools right across the county line,” he said. “If that amendment passes and those schools are taken over, it doesn’t matter how big James Brown’s statue is downtown, people are not going to move to Richmond County.”

One of two questions taken from the audience addressed the issue of death with dignity. All three candidates shared their reasons for disagreeing with the issue.

“I do not believe as caregivers we are not trained, nor should we be in a position to assist someone to take their own life. We can make them very, very comfortable,” Greenhill said. “I do not support euthanasia, but I do support that if you do not want medical treatment, that is obviously your choice and I understand that.”

Newton responded favorably to an audience question about legalizing medical marijuana but said he did not support decriminalization.

“We don’t know the unintended consequences of widespread use of marijuana, in particular recreational use, which I will not favor the decriminalization,” Newton said.

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