This past Wednesday, May 16th, PARCA held a 2018 Gubernatorial Candidate Forum at Woodrow Hall in Birmingham. The event was hosted by the PARCA Roundtable, PARCA’s young professionals’ group of 28 to 45-year-old civic and business leaders. It was a great opportunity for Democrat and Republican candidates to come together and express ideas in a nonpartisan environment prior to the June 5th primary election.
Participating candidates included Tommy Battle, Sue Bell Cobb, Scott Dawson, James Fields, Bill Hightower and Walt Maddox.
The forum featured one-on-one conversations with each candidate. The six conversations were led by PARCA Roundtable members Victoria Hollis, Peter Jones, and Kendra Key, young professional civic leaders Anthony Hood and Bridgett King, and WBHM News Director Gigi Douban.
A number of the questions specifically addressed the concerns of young professionals. Candidates were also asked about many of the issues most important to voters, as reported in PARCA’s recent Alabama Priorities. At the end of the event, all six candidates came to the stage for questions from the audience of around 135.
Some of the main ideas expressed throughout the evening focused on education, taxes, workforce development, the correctional system and the state’s image.
A collegiality emerged between the candidates throughout the evening, and for a few moments, there were no political parties, only public servants interested in improving the state of Alabama.