Crowd flocks to GOP forum

Published 6:50 pm Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An estimated 250 people braved impending bad weather to attend the Butler County Republican Party’s political forum held on Thursday on the campus of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College – Greenville.

“It was probably the largest GOP event in the history of Butler County,” said county chairman Cleve Poole. “It appeared that the crowd enjoyed the format which gave the gubernatorial candidates a chance to each have a bit of time to explain their most important goals, and also gave the folks a chance to speak with the candidates in a less formal setting during the “meet and greet” portion of the program.”

Attendee Nedra Crosby said this was her first such forum and she would definitely like to attend another.

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“It’s really exciting to see the kids here, because they need to take an active interest in their government,” she said.

Students from Fort Dale Academy lined the back wall of the conference center and joined other guests in listening to what the Republican candidates for governor had to say. Candidates attending included: Bradley Byrne, Tim James, Kay Ivey, Robert Bentley, and James Potts, all who were given equal time at the podium to address potential voters.

James is the candidate with obvious Greenville connections, but Byrne has a connection as well: the mother of his wife, Rebecca, was brother to Colin “Big C” MacGuire’s father, the late Buster MacGuire.

“I picked the perfect person to head up my campaign in Greenville,” remarked Byrne, as he called out MacGuire’s name.

“I’ve known him for about 28 years,” said MacGuire. “He’s a great, great person.”

Poole said he was especially pleased that Republican candidates for other state offices also chose to attend.

“We had both the announced candidates for the 2nd Congressional district (Martha Roby and Rick Barber), all three Lt. Governor candidates (Hank Erwin, Dean Young, and Gene Ponder), Secretary of State (and Greenville native) Beth Chapman, Atty Gen Candidate Luther Strange; Commissioner of Ag & Ind. Candidates John McMillan, Dale Peterson and the wife of the third, Mrs. (Susan) Dorman Grace. Also Steven Evans and Chip Beeker running for PSC, and James Houts, running for the Alabama Supreme Court,” he said.

Poole said interest in the event showed that people in Butler County are concerned about the future of both Alabama and the nation.

“The large turnout made it clear that the economy and pending legislation from Washington, including Cap and Trade, Healthcare, and tax increases,” he said, “have made voters take more notice of the importance of being aware of the issues and the candidates that are representing their interests in Montgomery and Washington.”