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Teens host candidate forum

Mariana Graybeal, Trent White, Meagan Buskey, Daniel Shults, Matthew Sutphin, Ashliegh Edwards, Shelby Miller, Emily Foster, Mahayla Waldrop And Emily Tapp celebrate after successfully hosting the first Unicoi County Teenage Republican Town Hall in Erwin. (Photo contributed by Trent White)

By Richard Rourk

The Unicoi County Teenage Republicans group, which has been established for more than a year now, held a public forum on Friday, June 26, at Evergreen Freewill Baptist in Erwin to ask questions of candidates running in upcoming elections.

For Unicoi County Teenage Republicans representative Trent White, the opportunity to host such an event was overwhelming.

“I was really nervous,” White said. “I didn’t hardly sleep last night.”

The event, which according to White, was the 25th event that the Unicoi County Teenage Republicans have hosted, drew a large crowd.

“We had three different offices there,” White said. “We had representatives from Congress, state representatives and school board. Of the candidates, we had Michael Baker, who is running for Unicoi County School Board; we had John Holsclaw and Bob Acuff who are running for the Tennessee House; we also had Jay Adkins, John Clark, Rusty Crowe, Josh Gapp, David Hawk, Nichole Williams and representatives for Timothy Hill and Steve Darden (who are running for Congress).”

The forum was a very unique experience for all, according to White.

“It really was one of a kind. We had several representatives that said that they have enjoyed this format better than any other functions they have attended in the past and would love to come back,” White said.

White acknowledged that it was great for the youth to really be involved in this process and to hear about issues that will affect them.

“This went so well, and we really got to be part of the  process, so this is only going to get bigger,” White said. “We hope to have another one of these before election time. It would be really cool to make this a tradition.”

According to White, a group effort made his forum a reality.

“We had help from Renea Jones, the (Unicoi County) Republican chairwoman, as well as our members Daniel Shults, Meagan Buskey, Matthew Sutphin and Thomas Byrd really worked hard to put this together,” White said. “We are also extremely thankful for all of the candidates that participated as well as those that attended the event.”

You can follow Unicoi County Teenage Republicans on their Facebook page and on Instagram at Unicoi_Teenage_Republicans.