House hopefuls outline their strong points

by Charlie Koenig - Posted on Aug 17, 2011 - 04:46 PM

Photo: Catesby Jones, standing at right, addresses the crowd during last Thursday night’s candidate forum at Gloucester Arts on Main. Jones and the other three Republican candidates for the 98th District House of Delegates’ seat (seated from left)—Sherwood Bowditch, Keith Hodges and Ken Gibson—and Democratic hopeful Andrew Shoukas took part in the forum, which was sponsored by the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce. WXGM radio personality Neal Steele (seated in background) served as moderator. Photo by Charlie Koenig.

Catesby Jones, standing at right, addresses the crowd during last Thursday night’s candidate forum at Gloucester Arts on Main. Jones and the other three Republican candidates for the 98th District House of Delegates’ seat (seated from left)—Sherwood Bowditch, Keith Hodges and Ken Gibson—and Democratic hopeful Andrew Shoukas took part in the forum, which was sponsored by the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce. WXGM radio personality Neal Steele (seated in background) served as moderator. Photo by Charlie Koenig.

"I’m not envious of you," Republican contender Catesby Jones said as he looked out on the audience last Thursday night at Gloucester Arts on Main. "You’ve got a hard decision."

Jones, fellow GOP hopefuls Sherwood Bowditch, Ken Gibson and Keith Hodges, along with Democratic nominee Andrew Shoukas, were addressing potential voters at the Gloucester Chamber of Commerce forum for the 98th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

About 70-80 spectators filled the gallery space to hear from the candidates, less than two weeks before voters go to the polls on Aug. 23 in a Republican primary that will narrow the field to two candidates.

In issues ranging from education and the state budget to job creation, the four Republican candidates tended to agree on most of the same points—giving voters, as Jones put it, a "hard decision" to make on Aug. 23. But the candidates also offered up subtle differences, in policy ideas, background and experience, in an effort to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.