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Democratic Party not sponsoring forum

CONYERS — The Rockdale County Democratic Party has announced that it will not be one of the sponsors behind a candidate forum planned for Saturday at Antioch A.M.E. Church.

According to a statement issued Thursday, acting party Chairman Tommy Plummer said the sponsorship, which was announced last week, was not authorized by the local party.

“We firmly believe in the power of partnership and teamwork in building the capacity of a community to support its citizens, and we wish success to the other sponsors of this candidate forum,” Plummer said in the statement. “We encourage our membership, candidates and the general public to attend and support this important community initiative.”

Both Democrats and Republicans are scheduled to take part in the forum, which is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Antioch A.M.E. Church, located at 1790 Ebenezer Road.

Plummer said a committee was formed to explore the possibility of sponsoring the forum, but the proper protocol was not followed in order to have the sponsorship approved by party leadership before the event was announced.

“There is a protocol in place,” Plummer said.”You want to check with your chairperson before you go forward.”

Plummer said RCDP is concentrating its efforts to ensure that Democrats go to the polls for the Primary Election on May 20.

“We regret any inconvenience resulting from these communication issues,” he said. “The RCDP will consider hosting a candidate forum at some point in the future.”

Remaining sponsors for the event are the National Council of Negro Women Inc. of the Rockdale/Newton Section and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Chi Tau Omega Chapter.

Rhonda Taylor, president of the local NCNW, issued a statement Wednesday saying that her organization regretted the change in sponsorship.

“A vital sponsoring organization decided to stand down from this collaborative partnership to ensure that voices of all candidates willing to participate in the forum, regardless of their party of choice, are heard,” Taylor wrote.

Candidates who have confirmed their participation include:

• U.S. Senate: Democrat Steen Miles and Republicans Derrick Grayson and Art Gardner. In addition, a representative for Democrat Michelle Nunn will participate.

• Governor: Republican John Barge and Democrat Jason Carter;

• Lt. Governor: Democrat Connie Stokes;

• Secretary of State: Democrat Doreen Carter;

• U.S. Congress: Democrat Tom Brown and a representative for Democrat Congressman Hank Johnson, incumbent;

• State School Superintendent: Democrats Denise Freeman and Rita Robinzine and Republican Mary Bacallao;

• Insurance Commissioner: Democrats Keith Heard and Liz Johnson; incumbent Republican Ralph Hudgens is reportedly trying to arrange his schedule so he can attend.

• Labor Commissioner: Democrat Robin Shipp;

• State House District 91: Incumbent Democrat Dee Dawkins-Haigler and Democrat Diane Adoma;

• State House District 113: Incumbent Democrat Pam Dickerson;

• Rockdale County Board of Education: Post 1 incumbent James McBrayer and challenger Alberteen Young;

• Rockdale County Board of Commissioners: Post 2 Republican incumbent JaNice Van Ness and Democrats Doreen Williams, Josie Dean and Arlan Gibson.