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BCCC voter rally lets citizens hear from local candidates

A voter participation rally hosted by the Butler County Concerned Citizens last Saturday gave local voters a chance to hear directly from several candidates.

The event also featured several non-candidate speakers, led by the Rev. Albert E. Love’s speech on the importance of voting.

BCCC president Kenneth Crum emphasized the importance of learning the policies of candidates and having a goal as an individual voter or constituency, rather than voting specifically by party, emphasizing the importance of “(Voting) in your own interest.”

“When you vote someone in, you have to hold them accountable,” Crum said.

To begin his speech, Love led the room in song assisted by “anointed drummer” Aliyonna “Toonie” Longmire, and invited the youth of the meeting to the front to show “the real reason we are here,” telling the audience “you’re looking at our future.”

Love, the head of the Voter Empowerment Collaborative (VEC), centered his speech around proclaiming the essentiality of voting, and how “voting is a non-violent way of making decisions… on behalf of your community.”

“Most people are not even aware that Tuesday, June 5 is Election Day,” Love said. “It’s not that they are bad people, or are not conscious, but most people I know are just trying to survive. They are trying to get their kids from daycare, go to work, get through traffic, go to church meetings. On their list of priorities, voting is probably about 233. So we have to educate people on issues and remind people of Election Day.”

Local candidates that spoke included Ollie Scott, a candidate for coroner; Robert Blankenship, a candidate for circuit clerk, and Georgiana police chief Carlton Cook, a candidate for sheriff. 

Paul Mitchell, a potential candidate for probate judge, who is attempting nomination by petition as an Independent, also spoke.

Scott said one of his main goals if elected coroner would be to establish an office for the position in the Butler County Courthouse.

Blankenship said in regards to his candidacy, “it’s time for a change,” and seeks to inspire and be a good example for the county’s young people by running for the office.

Mitchell said he desires to run for the probate judge position because he is qualified and believes “no race should go unopposed.”

Cook echoed Blankenship.

“It’s time for a change,” Cook said.

Cook added that he wants to “magnify the things I’ve done for the community of Georgiana.”

“To serve the people, a police department has to be involved, not just in the court rooms, not just in the jails,” Cook said. “We need to be involved with the people in the community.”

Prior to the rally, a basketball tournament was held. Crum said it was well attended and successful.