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Candidates meet with the public over coffee

By By JOHN DILMORE JR. Publisher
A large crowd gathered at Brewton's Tomato Caf/ yesterday morning to learn more about some of the people who want to represent them in local government.
Coffee &the Candidates, which was sponsored by the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce, offered attendees the chance to hear candidates speak and to ask them questions from the floor.
District Attorney candidates Steve Billy and Danny White, District Judge David Jordan and District Two Commissioner Todd Williamson were there to meet with voters.
Jordan and Williamson are unopposed in their election bids.
Billy, a Brewton native who's served in the DA's office for 10 years, focused on a number of issues, including the need to continue combating domestic violence.
Billy also spoke to the crowd about the need to "fight to keep our violent criminals and drug dealers off the streets."
White, who's been a defense attorney in the county for 12 years, including time spent as a public defender, said that there was one sure way to make Escambia County a better place to live.
White said that the District Attorney's Office is "a vital part of our system."
Both Billy and White said the county's Community Corrections program, which allows non-violent offenders to ease their way back into society, is a good thing.
Asked about how he felt about plea bargaining, White said, "There are cases that need to be plea bargained. My goal is to be aggressive. I'm not going to be generous about plea bargaining."
In answer to the same question, Billy replied that deciding which cases to plea bargain had a lot to do with utilizing the DA's resources wisely -- meaning that it's not practical to take every case to trial in an effort to achieve the maximum possible penalty.
Jordan spoke the audience about a number of issues related to his district judgeship, which deals with areas such as domestic abuse and youth crime.
Williamson said that he was proud of work he and the other supervisors had done, especially their efforts to get along while making decisions for the county.