LEE COUNTY — The Lee County Democratic Executive Committee conducted a candidate forum during their regular monthly meeting on Feb. 20 at the Lee County Courthouse, highlighting the party’s local candidates who will appear on the March 5 Primary Election ballot.
Auburn attorney Kris Patton is seeking county-wide election to the Lee County District Judge seat currently held by the Honorable Russell Bush. Judge Bush has announced his retirement at the end of this year.
Larry Patterson is seeking re-election to the Lee County School Board, District 6, while Sonny Stringer is seeking to maintain his seat on the School Board for District 7.
Richard LaGrand, Lee County Commissioner District 5, was invited to participate in the forum but did not attend.
Each of the candidates was allowed to give an opening statement followed by questions from the audience.
Patton emphasized her versatile experience as an attorney in handling cases affecting individuals and families.
“If I’m elected, I want to provide those who come through District Court with alternatives to help alleviate the problems that brought them to court in the first place,” said Patton. “Connecting people with available resources is crucial to ensuring their future success.”
Patton has also proposed moving some cases now being heard in Family Court to District Court in order to lessen the current backlog.
Lee County School Board members Larry Patterson and Sonny Stringer were both originally elected to the Board in 1988, becoming the first two African-Americans to serve in those positions.
“Over the years, we’ve developed a very diverse curriculum that offers quality programs for both college-bound and career technical students,” said Patterson. “Lee County is one of the most progressive county school systems in the state.”
“I’ve always had a passion for kids,” Patterson added. “I’m proud to attend annual conferences and tell my peers that I’m from Lee County.”
Stringer pointed out that much has changed in the more than 30 years of his tenure.
“When I first came to the school board, we had an annual budget of $18 million. Today, it’s well over $100 million,” said Stringer. “One of my top priorities is, and always has been, school safety; making our campuses as safe as possible.”
Both Patterson and Stringer expressed a desire to maintain an environment where students and teachers can succeed by supplying them with the resources necessary for achievement.
Patterson and Stringer, along with Richard LaGrand, are all running unopposed in the Primary Election, and will face no challenge in the Nov. 5 General Election.
Patton is the only Democratic candidate in the Primary Election for District Judge but will face the winner of the Republican Primary in the General Election.