GWINNETT COUNTY, GA. — The Democratic candidates looking to be the next sheriff and district attorney are taking part in an online virtual forum to go over their platforms and to address criminal and immigrant issues happening in Gwinnett. The virtual forum will take place on Thursday, April 9 and include six Democratic candidates who hope to be elected to be the next Gwinnett County Sheriff and District Attorney.

The candidates hoping to replace Sheriff Butch Conway after he retires that will be participating in the online forum are Curtis Clemmons, Ben Haynes, Keybo Taylor, and Floyd Scott. The participating district attorney candidates will be Patsy Austin-Gaston and Wesley Person.

With traditional campaigning opportunities being severely limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, the online forum will provide many voters with their first chance to hear from each of the Democratic candidates. The candidates, according to the Asian American Advocacy Fund, are expected to focus on how they will “work to eliminate the disproportionate impacts of policing and immigration enforcement on their communities.”

Voters can join the forum via Facebook Live on Thursday, April 9, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. The Gwinnett County Sheriff and District Attorney Criminal and Immigrant Justice Candidate Forum can be accessed through https://www.facebook.com/asianaaf. Voters can even submit questions for the candidates in the RSVP form.

The current Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway has chosen not to seek reelection this year making the race for sheriff highly sought after. “Conway has made the Sheriff’s Office a focus of controversy through his ties to a local white supremacy group and through his vocal support for a program that allows his department to use local resources to carry out federal immigration enforcement. With both Republican candidates vowing to carry on Conway’s legacy, the four Democratic candidates are vying to convince voters that they are best positioned to turn the page on his anti-immigrant and anti-criminal-justice-reform policies,” says the Asian American Advocacy Fund (AAAF)in a recent press release.

Two Democratic candidates have chosen to square off against incumbent Danny Porter, a Republican for the district attorney position. The AAAF states, “Porter has resisted criminal justice reform efforts and has been criticized for pushing for harsh punishments, such as the case of a woman with a potential brain injury or mental health issue who was sentenced to the death penalty.”

A coalition of groups that represent Black and immigrant populations within Gwinnett County such as the AAAF, the New Georgia Project Action Fund, and others are organizing Thursday’s forum.

For more information on the online forum, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/488581465176537/. 

— Staff Reports

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