Sheriff debate begins

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

People will get the chance to hear how two sheriff’s candidates envision law enforcement working for the next four years Thursday as part of the Roosevelt County candidate forum.

The Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce and county officials are putting together a forum scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Memorial Building. The forum format allows for questions from the audience directed at one individual or to all of the candidates at once.

“The purpose of the forum is to help voters become more informed on the issues and the candidates’ viewpoints so they can cast a knowledgeable vote,” King said.

There are two positions which will be contested during elections this year. The position of Roosevelt County Sheriff will be decided in the June 5 Republican primary. Darren Hooker, who is a sheriff’s deputy, will go up against incumbent Tom Gossett.

“Several people have changed their party affiliation from Democrat to Republican so they can vote in the primary for sheriff,” King said. “Both candidates are Republican so there won’t be a choice on the Democrat side. The final date to change party affiliation is May 9.”

The other county-contested race will be decided in the November general election. Bill Cathey, Republican, will go up against Charles Bennett, Democrat, for the District 3 county commission seat. County candidates running unopposed include: Incumbent Jane Martin, a Democrat, for the magistrate judge’s position; Incumbent Paul Grider, a Democrat, for the District 5 county commissioner spot and incumbent Gene Creighton, a Democrat, for the District 4 spot. Tex Belcher, a Democrat, for the county assessor position.

All eight candidates are scheduled to talk about their views on different topics dealing with Roosevelt County and it’s future. Charlene Hardin, county manager, will explain the format and how each candidate will be given time for an introduction and reply to questions.

King will ask prepared questions and the candidates will be given a limit on the amount of time used for their responses. The forum begins at 5:30 p.m. on Monday in the Memorial Building.

For more information on changing parties, contact the county clerk’s office at 356-8562.