Originally created 08/04/06

House hopefuls take questions

Georgia House District 122 candidates Hardie Davis Jr. and Richard Colclough played offense and defense Thursday during a political forum at Eastview Community Center.

With only four days left before Tuesday's runoff election, they answered questions from the audience of about 75 people and made their major points.

Mr. Davis' themes were political change, integrity, leadership and "principle above politics."

Mr. Colclough touted his knowledge and experience and adherence to the Democratic agenda.

Each was put on the defensive by a series of questions moderator Mallory Millender called "negative questions" obviously written by their opponents.

Questions for Mr. Colclough ran the gamut from what he had to offer at the state level when he did so little during his eight years as an Augusta commissioner to his vote to approve a liquor license opposed by the adjacent neighborhood.

Negative questions for Mr. Davis centered on whether he is a true Democrat because he voted in the 2002 and 2004 Republican primaries.

Mr. Colclough defended his record of service to District 4 by saying he had worked for three years to bring the anti-crime Weed & Seed program to Barton Village.

"I was responsible for sending that program to the neighborhood that liquor store was in," he said.

Mr. Davis said he had addressed the question of whether he was a Democrat at a previous forum and found it interesting that question was still being asked. He said he supported Willie Mays for mayor, solicitor Harold Jones and other Democratic candidates financially and by bringing them into his church.

"I've done more than many other people," he said, vowing to "vote in step" with the predominantly Democratic local legislative delegation.

"You're much smarter than this nonsense they're putting out," he said. "So you're going to go to the polls Aug. 8 and elect me to go to Atlanta to represent you."

In response to a request that the candidates explain their plans for economic development in Augusta, Mr. Colclough said transportation was the key and proposed a high-speed bullet train to run along Interstate 20.

Mr. Davis said, "Education is economic development. We've got to look at our education system. ... I think it starts there first and foremost."

He also said tax incentives to bring research and development to Augusta are needed.

Mr. Davis won 46 percent of the vote in the July 18 primary, nearly double Mr. Colclough's total.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.


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