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LWV Candidates’ Forum for SPS School Committee Available, Select Board Forum Cancelled

The League of Women Voters’ Candidates’ Forum for the two open seats on the Sudbury School Committee (PreK-8) is now airing on Sudbury TV and is available as video on demand.

 

Candidates Karyn Jones and Mary Stephens participated in the forum, recorded Feb. 24 in the SudburyTV studio.  The third candidate, Richard Thalmann, withdrew from the forum two days before the recording because of a family obligation. League forum rules state that the forum will be held as long as at least two candidates participate.

 

The forum will run on SudburyTV’s new cable channels - Comcast 22 and Verizon 30 - during March and is available on demand at sudburytv.org. A cable subscription is not needed to view the on-demand version on a computer or smartphone.  A separate forum with uncontested candidates will be available in early March. The League received over 125 questions from the community for the Candidates’ Forums.

 

The election to fill two seats on the Select Board is also contested, but that forum was cancelled.

 

Candidate Eric Poch notified the League at the Feb. 16 deadline to RSVP that he would be unable to attend as he would be travelling to his 40th high school reunion on Feb. 24, the day of the scheduled forum recording. The day prior, Feb. 15, candidate Daniel Carty notified the League that he would participate in the forum if all three candidates participated.  Candidate Janie Dretler told the League on Feb. 15 that she would attend.

 

Both Poch and Carty requested that the forum be rescheduled. Once the recording schedule is finalized and all candidates have been notified – this year on Feb. 8 – the League does not change the date of the recording. The League received no indication of any scheduling conflicts before the recording date was finalized and candidates notified. 

 

Forum rules, provided to candidates in writing with the finalized recording schedule, state that the forum will be held as long as at least two candidates participate. If only one candidate participates, then the forum is cancelled.

 

Forum cancellations are extremely rare. Candidates are notified of the potential dates for the Candidates’ Forum recording when they pull papers in January, and again after the deadline to return signatures.

 

“We provide Candidates’ Forums as a service to voters. We are willing to work with candidates to try to resolve conflicts if notified in advance but cannot reschedule forums once the recording date and time have been set and the candidates have been notified,” said Nell Forgacs, LWV voter service co-chair.

 

“We want to thank SudburyTV and our moderator for their work to prepare for the forum and the community for the many thoughtful questions.”

 

All three candidates were invited to provide a statement explaining their reasons for participating or not participating in the forum. Poch did not provide a statement.

 

Carty said, “I'm in as long as it's all 3 candidates. If there's a day/time that works for all 3 I'm happy to participate.

 

Dretler said, “I was so excited to participate in the LWV Candidate Forum. It has been a top priority for me each time I have run for elected office, and was marked on my calendar for this election season. l was disappointed to hear that it had to be cancelled due to candidate scheduling conflicts and candidate-imposed demands, as I was eager and ready to participate. The LWV Candidate Forum is not just a tradition in Sudbury, it’s a service to democracy and it strengthens our whole community. LWV Candidate Forums help to inform voters, but they also make us better candidates and better public servants. I want to express my thanks to the League of Women Voters of Sudbury. They do a tremendous amount of work so that candidates have the opportunity to clearly state their positions and engage in healthy discourse. I’m committed to doing exactly that on the campaign trail, and aim to live up to the high standards set by the LWV Forums.”

 

Forgacs added, “We urge voters who have questions to attend the League’s Meet the Candidates event Sunday, March 10, to ask the candidates directly.” 

 

The Sudbury LWV will host Meet the Candidates, an informal drop-in event Sunday, March 10, 2-4 p.m. in the Community Room at Goodnow Library. 

 

The League’s Voters’ Guide is now available on its website, www.lwvsudbury.org.   

 

The town election is Monday, March 25. Mail ballots will begin arriving after March 6.

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