2014-10-01 / News

Candidate forums begin Thursday

BY JOHN SWINCONECK Times Record Staff

BRUNSWICK

A series of forums for local and state senate candidates beginning Thursday will help introduce political hopefuls to Brunswick voters.

“Unfortunately, in these local races, the amount of information people can get about individual candidates can be very limited, especially in municipal races,” said Michelle Small of the Brunswick Area League of Women Voters, which is sponsoring three of the four forums. “Candidates have little money and time. Most people don’t see anything beyond a palm card.”

“The obvious benefit is that the public hears what candidates have to say about issues that affect each and every one of us,” said Debora King, executive director of the Brunswick Downtown Association, which is sponsoring one of the forums. “It’s a great opportunity for folks to get to know the candidates. And its a good way for the BDA to make a connection with the community.”

Small and King said all candidates have agreed to show at the upcoming forums—with one exception.

The league is hosting an Oct. 9 school board candidates forum. As of Tuesday, the only candidate for school board who has agreed to show up is Christopher L. Watkinson, according to Small.

School board candidates have been asked to inform the league by Friday, Oct. 3, whether they will attend the Oct. 9 forum.

Other school board candidates include Watkinson’s District 5 opponent, incumbent Jim Grant. District 7 newcomer Sarah Singer and at-large incumbent William Thompson are unopposed.

Those who wish to submit questions for league’s forums may email them to lwvba@gwi.net.

Small said she expects a good turnout for this year’s midterm election, buoyed by the fact that there is a threeway race for governor, as well as a controversial referendum question on bear-baiting.

Brunswick forums will be broadcast live on Cable Access TV 3, and rerun as time and scheduling allows.

As of Sept. 30, the schedule of candidates forums are as follows (all events start at 7 p.m. at the town hall council chambers):

• Town council candidates: Thursday, Oct. 2, sponsored by League of Women Voters of the Brunswick Area. Candidates will be asked, “What do you think the respective roles of Town Councilor and Town Manager should be?” before taking questions from members of the public. Moderated by District 60 State Rep. Andrew Mason.

• School board candidates: Thursday, Oct. 9, sponsored by League of Women Voters of the Brunswick Area. Candidates will be asked “What course should the School Board follow concerning school construction or renovation?” before taking questions from members of the public. Moderated by former Harpswell Selectman Gordon Weil.

• Maine Senate District 24 candidates: Wednesday, Oct. 29, sponsored by League of Women Voters of the Brunswick Area. Candidates will be asked, “What step or steps will you commit to taking to improve the relationship between Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature, regardless of the occupant of the Blaine House?” before taking questions from members of the public. Moderated by Gina Hamilton, who works at The Times Record.

• Town council candidates: Thursday, Oct. 30, sponsored by the Brunswick Downtown Association. Seven questions have been prepared that will not be revealed beforehand. Moderated by Sande Updegraph, executive director of the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce and member of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority.

jswinconeck@timesrecord.com

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