Ahead of the November general election, an Oak Grove City Council member is establishing a meet and greet between city council candidates and the public.

Council member Jackie Oliver rented the pavilion at Valor Hall from 12 p.m to 2 p.m. Sept. 26.

From there, she contacted all current city council members as well as council candidates looking to take a seat on the council come November.

Oliver also contacted the League of Women Voters to possibly hold a debate in order for Oak Grove citizens to get to know the candidates. Oliver said that the league may not be able to host a debate due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

“There’s 14 of us running and most of them I know, but some of them I don’t,” Oliver said. “So, I wanted to, not only for the rest of the citizens, but for me to be able to meet these people.

“I’m hoping that the citizens will come out and meet all of us and see what our points are and how we see some of the (issues) and if they have concerns, bring them up. So, if anyone has a concern, comment or even a suggestion, this would be a great opportunity to come forward and ask any types of questions they may have.”

Oliver also shared that she felt that she should organize an event like this for the community because she had not yet heard of any other plans of a debate or meet and greet to give residents the chance to get to know their candidates. She said that having a meet and greet may be a better opportunity to get to know the candidates as the atmosphere will be more candid than in a debate.

Oliver explained that at the debate she took part in two years ago, all candidates took part at the same time and felt that everyone began repeating relatively the same answers to the debate questions.

“That was the first time I had been in a debate and you kind of start feeling foolish because you’re absolutely repeating what everyone else is saying,” she said. “This just gives you the opportunity to say whatever you want and however you want to say it.

“There’s no time limit (to questions) and if you want to talk to me for the whole two hours we’re going to be there, then I’m going to stand and talk for two hours.”

Oliver stated that she looks forward to hearing fresh ideas from candidates.

“I’m not opposed to changing up the entire city council, I’m really not,” Oliver said. “Even though I’m an incumbent. If (residents) feel the need to replace me, then replace me.

“So, I’m hoping that we can have a council that get along with the mayor. You’re never going to get seven people who all agree, but if we could get where we could be cordial to one another and have an understanding that’s it’s for the greater good of the city, it’s not about us.”

Oliver added that she also chose to host the meet and greet at Valor Hall as she feels not enough Oak Grove residents are aware of what’s there.

“A lot of people don’t know about the beautiful walking trails that they have and the playground will be open to be able to play,” she said.

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