Cagle farm Loudermilk

In this 2018 photo, U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, left, Flynn Broady, Loudermilk’s Democratic challenger, center, and Pam Carnes, president and CEO of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, prepare for a candidate forum at the Cagle’s Family Farm.

A staple of Cherokee County politics returns next week to connect citizens with candidates for public office in-person for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.

Candidates running for federal, state and local offices in this year’s and next year’s elections will be on hand to meet with the public from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at at Cagle’s Family Farm, 5267 Conns Creek Road near Ball Ground.

The main forum event begins at 6:30 p.m., where candidates will answer questions. Drinks and peanuts will be provided by the farm bureau, while scouts from Boy Scout Troop 465 will serve homemade ice cream.

Although last year’s event was held virtually due to the pandemic, Shirley Pahl of Cherokee County Farm Bureau said this year’s forum would be held in much the same format it had since the event began in 1992.

“Candidates will have two minutes to speak,” Pahl said. “They will then take questions from the audience before having one minute for a closing statement.”

As with prior candidate forums, those speaking will be able to share with attendees what their platforms are and help spread their message as the election season draws near. Candidates who are running unopposed will simply be introduced to the crowd, while all other candidates will be given the standard time for comments, questions and answers.

“The purpose is for the people to hear from the candidates and be able to make a more informed decision on who to vote for,” Pahl said.

Of the candidates scheduled to speak, the only ones up for election in 2021 are Ball Ground city council candidates Kristine Rogers, running for Post 4, and Dennis Nelson, running for Post 5. The remaining candidates are running in the 2022 election cycle. Also on the ballot in 2021 in Cherokee County is a renewal of the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (Ed-SPLOST).

For more information about the candidate forum, call 770-479-1481, extension 0. Pahl said members of the public are welcome to RSVP to the event by calling, but they may also simply show up at the farm and be ready to meet all the candidates in attendance.

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