Lexington Town Council member to host ‘Cocktails with the Candidates’

Posted 9/18/23

A town of Lexington Town Council member is offering his own opportunity for residents to connect with council candidates running in the upcoming election.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Subscribe to continue reading. Already a subscriber? Sign in

Get 50% of all subscriptions for a limited time. Subscribe today.

You can cancel anytime.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Lexington Town Council member to host ‘Cocktails with the Candidates’


A town of Lexington Town Council member is offering his own opportunity for residents to connect with council candidates running in the upcoming election.

Gavin Smith, elected to council in May in a special election, will host a three-evening “Cocktails with the Candidates Series” at O’Hara’s Public House on the town’s Main Street.

The interview series will be conducted over three weeks, with the first event to take place Sept. 26. Smith told the Chronicle that two candidates, Will Allen and Greg Brewer, declined to participate.

Each week will feature two candidates and include a 30-minute one-on-one interview.

Sept. 26 will feature Mathew Graham and Edwin Gerace, Oct. 3 will have Jeannie Michaels and incumbent Todd Lyle, and Oct. 10 will feature Mayor Pro-Tem Hazel Livingston, the lone mayoral candidate running for the seat being vacated by Steve MacDougall, and council candidate Amelia Pocta.

Smith told the Chronicle that some of the questions will come from social media, where members of the public can leave general comments and questions about topics they would like to hear the candidates speak on.

According to a press release, planned topics include development in the town and greater county area, traffic, law enforcement, fiscal responsibility and more.

Smith added that while each candidate will receive questions on the same topics, that not all questions will be the same for each. He said when he was campaigning for his position, regardless of how many doors he knocked on, that there were not enough hours in the day to connect with every citizen, and that motivated him to host his candidate talks.

Brewer reached out to the Chronicle to clarify why he isn't taking part in the series.

"I declined to participate in the cocktail sessions, explaining to Gavin that as a frequent guest at Ohara's fun and often rockin' pub (especially 80s nights on Friday), I did not think him personally hosting a 'Facebook Live' session over alcohol was appropriate, nor putting himself and his personal business front and center in an election of his future peers on council," he said, adding that he will host his own coffee and conversation series "Morning and Afternoon  Brews" Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and Thursdays at 5 p.m. Sept. 19-Oct. 19  and will appear for drop-in visits at the Thursday 6:30 p.m. Icehouse Live concerts at the Icehouse Amphitheater leading up to the election.

Smith said he respectfully disagrees with Brewer's position on the event and that he has "declined an opportunity to speak directly to the citizens of our Town about the issues that matter most to them."

"I’ve heard from a number of residents that it’s sometimes hard to get information about Town Council candidates during election seasons," Pocta, one of the candidates taking part, told the Chronicle. "If this is another avenue that helps folks feel like they know more about us as fellow Lexington residents, and have more information going into the election, that’ll be worth it."

Smith emphasized the series isn’t about him but the candidates and have no involvement with his government public relations firm. He added that he will not be debating them, pressing for more information, offering a different perspective or playing devil's advocate. The events themselves will be a more intimate, forum styled event allowing each candidate to answer the given question before moving on. Smith said he hopes the events will provide the candidates an opportunity to share more about who they are outside of their run for council, whether that be their profession, what they do for fun and other personal aspects.

“I wanted to provide them a more relaxed setting, a more informal setting, to sort of share some of that information as well,” Smith said. “So that people can get to know them, not only from a candidate's perspective, but also on a more personal level.”

“I saw that was missing, you know, from maybe some of the public events that I participated in, but when I would always go to doors when I was knocking on doors, I frequently got those questions,” he added.

This is a developing story and will continue to be updated.

lexington town council candidates, november election, gavin smith


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here