Candidates face off before election - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Candidates face off before election

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

While crowds have been heading to the polls for early voting, local candidates are gearing up for the last few weeks of campaigning.

"In order to effectively be an administrator and effectively lead, you have to have the experience to be able to impart what you have learned over the years in the courtroom to the people who are doing the job," said Mark Post, Republican candidate for Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney.

Post questioned incumbent Julia Slater's leadership during a candidate forum put on by the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

However, Slater told voters she has plenty of courtroom experience and the job of district attorney goes beyond trying cases.

"A lot of being a district attorney is leading the office effectively," said Slater. "It's having the management skills and the organizational skills to make sure the cases are prosecuted properly, but the district attorney is not one who is necessarily in the courtroom winning the cases."

Candidates for the Muscogee County Sheriff were also at the forum. Republican candidate Mark LaJoye said some of the programs that incumbent John Darr currently has at the jail are not effective when it comes to reducing the number of repeat offenders.

He wants to see more done outside the jail.

"We'll have employment training, we'll have family-based relations-type training and we'll make sure that they are drug tested and that they are a productive person in society again," said LaJoye.

Darr says they have set up a GED program and, veterans, fatherhood, and faith-based dorms to help ensure offenders do not return to jail.

"When we had the 22 people who received their GED, we only had four people return. That is less than 25%. That number is way down on the national average," said Darr.

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