02 Virtual Candidates Forums Quarter RegularFor the first time in my lifetime, I will be a Poll Observer during this election cycle. Why? Because rumors abound about the safety and security of the most cherished right we have as Americans: the right to vote. Voting is our constitutionally protected patriotic duty that defines and reinforces our freedoms as American citizens. This election year, I want to personally witness this freedom and, hopefully, dispel the conception that the process is diabolically being compromised.

This 2020 presidential election may be the most important ever in our history as this country battles inside and outside enemies and political sources whose sole purpose is to transform America into a communist country.

Make no mistake about it, the overly used, benevolently disguised and distilled term "socialism" is nothing more than the initial stepping stone to Marxism and, ultimately, communism. And, as predicted by many scholars decades ago, this socialist/communist threat is coming from within. You only have to look at the changing and catastrophic ideologies of the once-patriotic and honorable Democratic Party. In summation: its integrity has been breached, and its values are compromised. The U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights have been designated insignificant, making it a target of extreme compromise and ultimate obliteration. This is why all citizens who cherish American freedoms, safety and security, regardless of political affiliation, need to VOTE!

Kudos to local Fayetteville businessman Henry Tyson, currently the Chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. He has rallied with likeminded people, businesses, and organizations and created a unique forum to introduce local candidates to the community. The online platform is designed to create awareness of voting's importance while informing and educating local citizens on critical regional and statewide issues.

Starting on Oct.13, these organizations will host a series of candidate forums ahead of the general election. The event will be conducted virtually and feature video interviews with local, county, state and federal candidates, who will discuss local, regional and state issues. Moderators will not distribute the questions in advance, and each candidate will answer identical questions as it relates to the timely and essential topics pertinent to their race. The interviews will be streamed online and available on all the websites of the hosts and sponsors.

Residents will be able to tune in throughout the month as new candidate interviews are uploaded and streamed in segments, beginning with the Cumberland County Board of Education, Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, local N.C. legislative races and statewide and federal offices. The schedule will be posted online each morning.

This effort took a lot of work and coordination. According to Tyson, everyone was on board from the very beginning: "We wanted to have a format that allowed for the community to be informed — especially during the time of COVID-19 — provide for a natural and unprepared response from those running for office and give the voters insight on the pressing issues we are faced with here in the greater Fayetteville area."

I want to thank Henry Tyson for his leadership in shepherding this virtual forum and the five hosting organizations that saw value in the project. See the schedule on the flyer. Also, a special thanks to the forums cosponsors: Coldwell Banker Advantage, Tyson Commercial Real Estate, Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper, Bronco iRadio of Fayetteville State University and JerFilm Productions.

Thanks for reading Up & Coming.

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