This story originally ran in the Record Journal on Wednesday October 12, 2011 under the title “Q&A for candidates set at two forums next week”
In the instances where the article reads “next week” please remember that it will be referring to THIS WEEK Wednesday October 19 and Thursday October 20.
By Russell Blair
WALLINGFORD — Voters will have a chance to hear candidates for mayor, Town Council and Board of Education at two candidate forums next week.
On Wednesday, council candidates will answer questions from students from Sheehan and Lyman Hall high schools and local reporters, with a similar forum Thursday for the mayoral and school board candidates. Both are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Council Chambers.
The forums are being sponsored by the Wallingford Community Women.
“This gives people an opportunity to learn more about candidates,” member Jeanne McFarland said. “This is a chance to ask specific questions. It’s a more informal opportunity to get information.”
Republican Town Committee Chairman Robert Prentice said the forums are a valuable opportunity for candidates, too.
“This is a chance for everybody to say what they have to say,” Prentice said. “All the signs in the world don’t tell anybody about the candidates.”
The forums will be taped and broadcast on WPAA-TV in the weeks before the election.
Democratic Town Chairman Vincent Avallone said forums are good for newer candidates who aren’t familiar with the political process.
“For newer candidates, this makes a big difference,” he said.
Avallone said some candidates are nervous about being on television, but are excited to get their message across.
Prentice said he expects the entire Republican slate to be present both nights. Avallone said the only absence he was expecting was Valerie Ford, a school board candidate who has a work commitment.
McFarland said her organization — formerly the Wallingford Junior Woman’s Club — has helped run the event with the League of Women Voters before, but this year’s forum is the first time it has sponsored the event alone.
Candidates will be allowed two minutes to respond to questions from the panel. Each candidate will answer eight to 10 questions. At the end, each candidate will be allowed three minutes to summarize their platform.
The council forum is divided into segments, with Democratic candidates Nick Economopoulos, Don Harwood and Robin Hettrick and Republican candidates Vincent Cervoni, Craig Fishbein and Tom Laffin answering questions beginning at 7 p.m., and Democrats Debi Reynolds, John Sullivan and Jason Zandri joining Republicans John Le-Tourneau, Robert Parisi and Rosemary Rascati at 8 p.m.
Thursday’s forum will begin with school board Democrats Kathy Castelli and Jay Cei pairing up with Republicans Tanya Bachand, Michael Brooder and Christine Mansfield at 7 p.m., followed by David Leonardo, Patrick Reynolds and Michael Votto representing the Democrats, joined by Republicans Joe Marrone, Roxane McKay and Chet Miller at 8 p.m. The mayoral forum will follow at 9 p.m. with Democrat Vincent Testa Jr. and Republican Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr.