Troy candidates attend forum

Published 3:00 am Friday, August 19, 2016

Troy candidates were asked how they would improve the school system and whether they’d consider allowing Sunday alcohol sales during a forum on Thursday.

All of the candidates running for positions in Tuesday’s election attended the forum hosted by the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.

About 65 people came to listen to the candidates’ responses.

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The first question out of the gate for all of the candidates was what could be done to “draw people back to our struggling city school system?”

District 1 candidate Matthew Jordan said that the city must “get on board with the governor for the lottery.” Jordan explained that his desire was for the money from the lottery proposed by Gov. Robert Bentley to go to the education fund instead of the general fund for Medicare.

“It’s all about money,” Jordan said. “It’s all about money and appropriating it in the right place.”

Fellow District 1 candidates Anthony Jackson and Jimmy Clarence Scott said that the community must identify the issues with the school system.

“We have to be vigilant,” Jackson said. “Inside and outside the classroom. It begins at home. We have to teach our children to make the right choices.”

“We have to research solutions,” Scott said. “We have to dig, look and rebuild.”

District 1 candidates Robert Jones and Mary Helen Collins made similar pitches for involvement from parents and the community.

“We need more involvement with the board, teachers, and kids,” Jones said. “It’s something we have to invest in.”

“We need involvement, and we also need to give back,” Collins said.

District 5 candidate Dejerilyn King Henderson said the main thing is engaging the community.

“We can advocate, we can propose more money, but the main thing that we can do is engage our community,” Henderson said. “We need to find out from the community their needs and desires. If you expect and demand success, that is most likely what you’re going to attain.”

District 5 candidate Wanda Moultry took a different approach to the question.

“We need to find ways to recruit new industries to bring a bigger tax base,” Moultry said. “That will provide more money for our schools.”

Mayoral candidate Edward Olanda Hardy said the key is investing in quality teachers.

“It starts in the classroom,” Hardy said. “We need quality teachers. Teachers also need to be able to identify kids from dysfunctional families and identify the best approach to teaching them.”

Mayoral candidate Jason Reeves said there are already quality teachers in the school system.

“I think we have fantastic teachers,” Reeves said. “I think we’ve done some very good things in the classroom. But we can always improve, and I think we need to bring in resources from outside the school system.”

Reeves talked about how the city bought a building from the school system to use as a third fire station to save the city money as well as putting some extra money into the school system.

“But we can’t just throw money at it – we need to spend time with our kids.”

Sexton said that the city needs to provide programs because kids might not necessarily get the chance to sit down with family members to be taught at home.

When Henderson and Moultry were asked what they would do differently than their last term in the seat, both said they wouldn’t change anything.

Moultry said that she would try to add to what she has done in the past and Henderson said she would continue to be the spokesperson for the people.

When asked whether they would consider allowing alcohol sales on Sunday, the mayoral candidates said that they all personally opposed it.

Hardy said that he believed that Sunday is God’s day and that the city should honor that.

Reeves said he would be open to listening to it if it was brought forward by the council and the community.

Sexton agreed that he wouldn’t support it personally, but said that “people will drink what they want to drink and it costs us money when they leave the city to get it.”

“If it were brought up, I’d be very interested in listening to it,” Sexton said.