On Nov. 6, voters in Altavista will elect a mayor and three council members.
Incumbent Councilman Mike Mattox is running for mayor against new candidate Joseph Emerson. Longtime Mayor J.R. (Rudy) Burgess isn’t seeking re-election after serving as mayor since 1988 and in town government since 1972.
For Town Council, incumbents Beverley Dalton and James (Jay) Higginbotham are seeking four-year terms as are newcomers Tracy Emerson and Tim George.
Again this election year, the Altavista Journal will sponsor a forum with the candidates. “A Conversation with the Candidates” will be held Thursday, Oct. 25, at Altavista Elementary School from 6:30-8 p.m.
“The Journal is hopeful a large number of Altavista residents will turn out for the event to hear the candidates answer questions about important issues in town,” said Mark Thomas, the newspaper’s editor. “Besides the questions, citizens will have a chance to meet and talk to the candidates before the forum.”
The six candidates are expected to participate in the forum, which will be moderated by the Rev. Michael Duncan, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Altavista.
For the first 30 minutes, candidates will greet town residents over light refreshments. Then, for about 45 minutes, candidates will answer questions from the Journal’s news staff and ones submitted by readers and those attending the forum. The candidates will end the event with closing statements.
“Every election is important. However, officials in local government often make decisions that affect people or a more day-to-day basis,” Thomas said.
The forum and the reporting in the Oct. 31 Journal will serve as the newspaper’s main pre-election coverage.
Citizens are invited to send questions they want the candidates to answer. They can be mailed to the Altavista Journal, P.O. Box 630, Altavista, Va. 24517, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or faxed to 434-369-6689. They can also be submitted by calling 434-369-6688.
Those attending the forum will also have a chance to turn in written questions.
“Good government is a partnership between the people and the elected officials,” Thomas said. “The newspaper would love to see the Altavista Elementary cafeteria filled with town residents.”
Admission to the forum is free.