Ashland women organize town hall: 'Meet the Candidates' to highlight commissioners

ASHLAND Thanks to the interest and action of three Ashland women, the community will have the opportunity to meet the candidates for Ashland City Commission.

The women — Cathy Meade, Lee Holderness and Kay Carr — have organized a town hall meeting from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Ashland Elks Lodge 350. They have invited all 13 commission candidates who will appear on the May 21 primary election ballot.

The field will be narrowed to eight based on the results.

Meade said she and her friends decided the event was needed.

“We were just sitting around and realized we didn’t know who was running and wondered, how can we fix this, and decided to have a town hall,” she said.

The office is nonpartisan and the organizers aren’t affiliated with a political party or other organized group. Meade said the three organizers shared the cost of renting the Elks but declined to say how much it cost.

Meade said all candidates for commission were emailed information about the forum.

“Any citizen can show up with their questions,” she said. “We will have a table set up and they can write down any questions they have. Before it starts, we will divvy up the questions. You can ask a specific candidate a specific question or you can ask them all to answer a question.”

Candidates will have three to five minutes to introduce themselves before questioning. A meet-and-greet will follow.

The event is meant to allow candidates and voters to get to know one another.

“There are 13 and that’s a lot. None of us wanted to do ‘eeny meeny miny moe,’” Meade said. “We want to understand them so we know who we’re voting for. If we’re having this problem, I’m sure others are, too.”

Mike Maynard, executive director at Hillcrest-Bruce Mission, will be the moderator.

Meade said they reached out to a couple of people to be moderator and one of them suggested Maynard, who said he would be honored to do the job.

Meade said the idea has been met with positivity.

“Everyone I spoke to was very pleased,” she said, noting the goal is for the community to be properly informed for Election Day. She also said in the future, she hopes more races will be highlighted with a similar “Meet the Candidates” format.

The 13 candidates are as follows (in order of how they’ll appear on the ballot): DJ Rymer, Fred Unrue, Sean Farrington, Tim Renfroe, Lana White, Jim Moore, Anthony Kyle Gibson, Dwain Porter, Richard “Sonny” Martin, Larry Brown, Marty Gute, Cheryl Spriggs and Amanda Clark.