COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Election season is nearly upon us. With early voting starting next Monday, both candidates for the newly redrawn District 140 seat are going head-to-head.

The two candidates running for the seat, formerly held by Calvin Smyre, attended a Meet the Candidate Forum put on by Davis Broadcasting and The Courier Eco Latino.

Candidates Teddy Reese and Zeph Baker answered questions presented by various organizations from around Columbus. The questions ranged from how will they help support minority small business owners, to how they will represent Columbus under the gold dome. This included upholding or continuing the legacy that former representative Calvin Smyre is leaving behind.

A large number of people were in attendance to hear what the candidates had to say including State Senator Randy Robertson.

After the forum News 3 asked both candidates how they will continue to uphold the legacy set by Representative Smyre while also being uniquely different from Smyre. These were their responses:

“The best way I can uphold Representative Smyre’s legacy is to hold on tightly to the principles that he has taught me. As my mentor I’ve learned so much from him, but at the same time you can learn things from people and still be yourself. All of us are educated whether it’s in grade school, or we go to the collegiate level, or you go to a tech school. You don’t become your teacher, you become you.”

Teddy Reese, Candidate for District 140

“One thing that Dean Smyre applied was the values of community and I am a product of this community, so those values are imbedded in me. So, it’s just about me going to do what I was raised to do, what my teachers taught me, what my parent’s taught me, what the programs that I have experienced here in Columbus, Georgia, that’s what you get. It’s natural; natural leadership, natural representation and it’s not forced, or even learned.”

Zeph Baker, Candidate for District 140

Both candidates shared the work they feel they’ve already done to earn the District 140 seat. The seat was held by Calvin Smyre for 47 years before he was selected by President Biden to serve as U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

Early voting begins next Monday, May 2, 2022 and Election day is May 24, 2022.