The Democrat to feature gubernatorial forum live

Staff Reports • Updated Jan 30, 2018 at 8:00 AM

The race to replace Gov. Bill Haslam is heating up, and another in a series of gubernatorial forums that involve candidates from both major political parties will take place Thursday morning at the Tennessee Press Association’s annual winter convention in Nashville.

The Tennessee Press Association will hold the forum, which will be carried live at lebanondemocrat.com, Thursday from 9:30-11:15 a.m. at the Nashville Public Library.

“We’re excited to be partnering with the TPA and the University of Tennessee to bring this important forum to our readers,” said Jared Felkins, Democrat editor. “The people we elect to represent us in Nashville have a significant impact on our daily lives, and it’s important to know how each candidate stands on the issues to be able to make educated and informed decisions as voters.

The gubernatorial forum kicks off an intense cycle of election coverage by the 125 members of the state newspaper association, who are committed to help educate readers about the candidates, races and issues, said Chris Vass, public editor of the Times Free Press in Chattanooga and vice president of the TPA.

“Election years are always important ones for our newspapers, as readers want and need in-depth coverage of the many races and candidates they will see on their ballots,” Vass said. “The 2018 elections will be particularly important with Gov. Bill Haslam not eligible for re-election, the retirement of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and the enhanced importance of midterm Congressional elections.”

The School of Journalism and Electronic Media at The University of Tennessee will live stream the forum through The Lebanon Democrat website so readers throughout the state will be able to meet the candidates as their campaigns gear up for the Aug. 2 primary elections.

The TPA received commitments from Democrats Karl Dean, former Nashville mayor, and state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley.

The TPA also received commitments from Republicans former state Sen. Mae Beavers; Randy Boyd, former commissioner of Economic and Community Development under Haslam; state House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville; and businessman Bill Lee. Republican candidates Congresswoman Diane Black and Kay White had not confirmed.

The TPA welcomed co-sponsors to the event that are non-partisan and committed to voter education and participation. Initial co-sponsors include the Nashville Public Library, Beacon Center of Tennessee, League of Women Voters of Tennessee and ThinkTennessee.

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