Midstate candidates, voters hobnob at annual event

chwright@macon.comSeptember 26, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Anna Maddox turned 18 years old Wednesday. On Thursday, she went to hear from the candidates who will be on her first election ballot.

“It makes me feel like you have a say-so in what goes on,” said Maddox, who attends Northside High School.

Maddox was one of more than 250 midstate residents and business people who attended the annual Middle Georgia Political HobNob to meet the candidates running for office this year. The evening included three-minute speeches from each candidate -- though sometimes hard to hear over the hobnobbing -- and a straw poll. The Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted the event, which was held at Central Georgia Technical College’s Warner Robins campus.

Morgan Law, chamber president and CEO, said it’s important for residents to hear from their potential government leaders, as much as it is for the candidates to hear from their potential constituents.

The event helps “make sure the candidates understand what’s important to these business leaders,” Law said.

To help determine that, one of three questions in an unscientific straw poll at the event asked what issue other than Robins Air Force Base is most important to voters. The options were affordable health care, transportation and a skilled workforce.

The other two questions asked who would win the SEC championship and who would make the best mayor of Warner Robins.

The question about the Warner Robins mayor presented narrow margins, with Chuck Chalk, a logistics manager at the base, leading the field of six with 22.3 percent.

The majority said a skilled workforce was the top issue (62 percent), and most predicted Georgia to win the SEC championship (64 percent). About 150 people participated in the straw poll.

Maddox said for her mayoral pick Thursday, she selected retired firefighter Randy Toms.

“I met him before, and he seems like a genuinely good man,” she said, adding she wants to do more research before casting her ballot Nov. 5.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.


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