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Two Congressional debates set

Two incumbents put together in the state’s new ThirdCongressional District will face off in two area debates soon.

While Republican Rep. Chip Pickering and Democrat Rep. RonnieShows will debate Aug. 1 at the Neshoba County Fair, the firstdebate in the new third district will be Monday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m.at the Brookhaven High School auditorium.

The candidates will meet again on Aug. 6, at 11:30 a.m. at theLawrence County Civic Center.

“We are providing the questions and the debate will be carriedstatewide in cooperation with Paul Ott’s ‘Listen to the Eagle’radio program,” said Chandler Russ of the Brookhaven-Lincoln CountyChamber of Commerce of the debate here.

Pickering, the Third District’s representative, and Shows, thecurrent Fourth District representative, were placed in the newThird Congressional District after district lines were redrawnafter the 2000 census. Mississippi’s congressional delegation wasreduced from five representatives to four because the state’spopulation grew more slowly than other states.

Russ said both representatives’ campaigns have committed toattend the debate.

“We’re looking forward to hearing from the candidates andgetting their views on issues affecting southwest Mississippi,”Russ said.

Brookhaven radio personality Chuck Ivey will be moderator forthe debate, which is expected to last about an hour and a half.Russ said the chamber’s executive committee is preparing questionsfor the event.

“We’ve also asked the candidates to submit questions,” Russsaid. “We’ll have those questions, and our questions will focus onissues facing southwest Mississippi.”

With Ott’s program carrying the debate, Russ said there will beat least one wildlife-related question. The debate will also acceptsome call-in questions from the radio program’s listeningaudience.

“We’re excited about this program,” Russ said, adding that it isan opportunity for voters to hear from the candidates and a chanceto give Brookhaven and Lincoln County some statewide exposure. “Anytime you can have that kind of exposure from Brookhaven and LincolnCounty, it’s always beneficial.”

The debate in Monticello will serve as the third quarter generalmembership meeting of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, butis open to the public.

“We’ve had a number of responses already. There’s a lot ofinterest in the race, so we’re hoping for a strong turnout,” saidPaul McLain, director of the Lawrence County Community DevelopmentAssociation.

The two incumbent representatives are campaigning hard forcontrol of a newly-defined district.

“We’re very pleased Congressmen Shows and Pickering havearranged their schedules to put themselves in front of the votersof Lawrence County so they can be made aware of our concerns,”McLain said.

The interviewing panel has been tentatively set as Scott Tynesfrom The DAILY LEADER, John Carney with the Lawrence County Pressand Chuck Ivey with Q102.

Due to time constraints, McLain said, no questions will befielded from the audience.

The debate is scheduled to last from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. andbox luncheon is included as part of this for a small fee, McLainsaid.

Reservations must be made in advance for the lunches, he said,but are not needed for attendees who do not wish a lunch.

Reservations can be made by calling the LCCDA at 587-3007.