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Havard declines to Debate

Jasper County Sheriff's Candidate Chuck Havard informed the East Texas Banner (ETB) that he is "declining to participate" in the upcoming debate on January 30th that he and Duncan both agreed to on October 23rd, 2023.

Havard states, "...the rules laid out restrict the free flow of information in the debate and to the public."

ETB has made the event open to the public and will be streaming LIVE as well as recording the event to be uploaded for those who could not attend.

"The Show Must Go On!" says Jay Sharp, event coordinator and ETB Owner. "We have worked hard to pull this event together to provide an informative and educational event for Jasper County citizens and that's what we will do," said Sharp. "As a result of this last minute adjustment, we have invited all the county candidates to participate in the event to speak and answer questions from the students and have had a great response so far."

ETB reached out to Scott Duncan today to confirm his participation. Duncan stated, "I will be there and answer all the questions you have for me."

ETB has been in a collaborative effort to provide an opportunity to see both candidates answer a wide range of questions. To do so, ETB has made available a question portal at for citizens to send in questions that will be considered by our moderators, long time businessman Chris Lanier and retired Buna High School Government & Economics teacher Kerry Thomas. Thank you to the moderators for your time and efforts to make this a great event for the citizens. Thank you to all the citizens who have sent in numerous questions. The portal will remain open until Thursday, January 25th.

ETB has agreements from Jasper ISD, Kirbyville CISD, Buna ISD and Evadale ISD. All four schools will have students on hand with questions they have been developing with their teachers over the past couple of months. Thank you to the Superintendents, Principals, Teachers & the students who will be in attendance.

Thank you to our sponsors: Patrick's Auto Repair in Kirbyville, Texas and Leah McClelland with JLA Realty.

Upon the news of Havard declining to participate, event sponsor, Leah McClelland stated the following: "As a sponsor of this debate, I am extremely disappointed that Chuck has decided not to attend. This sets a horrible example for our students and has shown a complete disregard for the public's time, energy, and effort preparing for this event. I expected better."

Below is the itinerary and rules, along with the correspondence ETB received from Havard, and our reply.

Our Team has been informed as, of late Tuesday, by Havard that he still declines to participate.


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