David Simons makes surprise appearance at school board president - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

David Simons makes surprise appearance at school board president candidate debate

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There was a surprise at Tuesday night's Savannah-Chatham County School Board President Candidate debate: all five candidates took part in a debate for the first time.

David Simons initially turned down the invitation to Tuesday night's debate, but then said around 4:30 p.m. he might make an appearance.

The people behind the chicken taunts toward Simons for not showing up to previous debates were also on hand Tuesday evening.

No one involved with the debate expected Simons to join his fellow candidates, but he did.

While the candidates were inside tackling the issues of a school board president, two young men were outside, one dressed in a chicken suit, posting signs and putting flyers on cars, specifically targeting Simons and referring to him once again as a chicken.

The questions on the signs came into play, as well as other specific questions to Simons, during the audience question portion of the debate.

"You said the school board is a business," said an audience member. "How much money have you made doing government consulting for construction companies who do business with the board?"

"Quite frankly, I find that to be inappropriate and an offensive question," Simons replied. "You should know better. Quite frankly, I'm a business man and I make money. I'm not apologetic for it. I'm ok with it."

However, some of the candidates didn't feel the line of questioning or tactics used in the parking lot were appropriate.

"I do not condone name calling or any of the other antics that happened in the parking lot tonight," said candidate Jolene Byne.

"Questions don't bother me," said Byrne. "The voters decide who they want to speak to and ask, and that's what happened."

"I thought that was the wrong thing to do, because it's not about Dave Simons" said candidate Chester Ellis. "One way or the other, it's what's best for the children of Chatham County. We should have left that alone."

"I knew there would be some candidates who might be a little more focused on, but I'm not here to worry about their focus," said candidate Sadie Brown. "I'm here to run for this seat and be a voice for our children."

"My goal is to bring community to the table," said candidate George Seaborough. "To open up the voice for our teachers, students and families."

"It's pure chicken garbage put out by some of the other campaigns," said Simons. "Nobody takes pot shots at the person running in last place."

Simons said the attacks take the focus off of the issues, but with two debates left, we may not have seen the last of the chicken.

"I'm amused," said Simons. "I think it's pretty funny, because as someone who has served their country and in a war zone several times, and someone who served in the Green Berets, I can pretty much guarantee you I am no chicken."

Interestingly enough, the chicken in the parking lot high-tailed it before the debate finished, so who's the real chicken some might ask?

The next debate, with all five candidates, is on May 7 at the Jewish Education Alliance.

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