Candidates invited to meet public at forum

AIKEN --- Candidates seeking state office will have to face the public before the primaries this summer.

The Aiken County Taxpayers Association has invited candidates running for the state Senate and House of Representatives to participate in a public forum.

The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Aiken County Council Building, 736 Richland Ave. W.

The candidates invited are:

- Greg Ryberg, the incumbent in Senate District 24, and challenger Jason Whinghter;

- Greg Anderson, Travis Johnson and Senate District 25 incumbent Shane Massey;

- Brad Boni, John Kelly, Scott Singer and Tom Young, who are vying to replace outgoing Rep. Skipper Perry in District 81;

- Judy Hamilton, Don Smith and Jim Whitehead, who are campaigning for the District 83 seat;

- Russell Curry and incumbent Roland Smith, who are seeking the District 84 seat.

According to the taxpayers association, candidates will be asked what they plan to do for taxpayers if elected and what fiscal concerns they have.

People in the audience also will be allowed to submit questions.

Vicki Simons, a founding member of the association, said the economy will make good fodder for the forum.

"The signs are obvious," Ms. Simons said. "There are a number of sources indicating we are in grave economic times right now, and it may get worse."

Ms. Simons said incumbents and potential legislators could be asked to answer for the "lack of fiscal restraint" past lawmakers have shown when spending taxpayer money.

The Democratic and Republican primaries are set for June 10.

Reach Sandi Martin at (803) 648-1395, ext. 111, or sandi.martin@augustachronicle.com.