To the Editor:
A candidate forum was held in Sylva on Oct. 15, 2012. The forum was sponsored by the Macon County League of Women Voters, Canary Coalition, Occupy WNC and The Smoky Mountain News.
There were two candidates participating in the forum for Jackson County Commission, two for N.C. House District 119, and two for N.C. Senate District 50. The sponsors of the forum asked questions that were answered, in turn, by each of the candidates. In a nonpartisan fashion, Republicans and Democrats alternated answering first or second, for each of the positions.
The forum was enlightening and it was readily apparent that most of the candidates were well prepared to answer each of the questions and clearly stated their positions on the issues.
Some questions were presented to only the candidates for Senate, incumbent Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and challenger John Snow. Their answers to the questions were informative and revealing. The contrast between these two gentlemen was astounding.
Jim Davis was forceful, erudite and concise. His answers consisted of facts, ideas and specific solutions. Davis was direct, explicit and coherent.
John Snow, on the other hand, was halting, hesitant, and by the end of the evening, appeared to be very weary. Some of his answers consisted of facts, but also much digression and lots of paraphrasing. Snow tended to ramble, rephrase, and simply restate, over and over, the same thought.
Snow needed to have a question repeated, even after it had been answered by others. He admitted that he did not answer the question on climate change. When answering the question on women’s issues he spoke very softly, looking at the moderator, not the audience, the entire time.
Jim Davis gave a two- to three-minute answer to a question regarding genetically modified food. When it was Snow’s turn to answer he simply stated, “I agree with him.” The next question was regarding Amend-ment 10 and it was Snow’s turn to answer first. He declined. Davis answered the question first.
Our state senator needs to have the ability and capability to represent us effectively. The job is demanding and rigorous, requiring robust energy. It’s not just the mental demands that are challenging, but also the physical demands — driving back and forth to Raleigh can sap one’s strength.
Voters have a right to know if a candidate is able to fulfill the duties of the office. Davis certainly appears to be up to par. Was Snow, like our president during the first debate, unprepared, off his game, simply having a bad night? You be the judge. View the Sylva video at http://thunderpigblog.blogspot-.com/2012/10/video-of-sylva-candidate-issue-forum.html#.UIBxnrQuSdI