There is just a few short weeks before the Democratic primary that will determine which one of the 4 Democratic challengers will advance to the special election for the open State Rep. seat in the 7th Bristol district. With so little time it is more important than ever to learn all we can about the candidates running for office. Yet due to a scheduling conflict one of the candidates, City Councilor Leo Pelletier, may be unable to participate in the only scheduled debate.
Now, you can hardly fault Leo for opting out of the debate because it's scheduled on the same night as the first City Council meeting of the current session. Yes, it can be argued that we the people would forgive Leo for missing a meeting to participate in a debate but it can also be argued that many would applaud Leo for his dedication in doing the peoples business.
The reality is Leo knows that he stands a very good chance of being our next State Rep. He knows that name recognition, popularity, and years of solid constituent service give him a great shot of winning the race. While I won't go as far as to say he won't debate, I will say he knows that missing the debate isn't going to hurt him, or that it might hurt him less than debating would.
Leo's excuse is a good one and a legitimate one. It's poor planning on the part of the debate sponsors to schedule it on the night of a City Council meeting. The whole purpose of a debate is to hear the various views and opinions of those running for office. What is the point of a debate if one of the 'front runners' is unable to attend? I understand that time is short but I believe the debate sponsors, WSAR and the Herald News, need to reschedule so all the candidates can participate. Not only should Leo have the chance to share his platform, his opponents should have the chance to show why they feel they are the better choice.
While this may be a special election, what happens here may well decide who wins a full term in the fall and considering the previous rep. held the seat for 30 years, maybe we need to take the time to make sure we know who we're voting for.
If you agree, contact the Herald News and WSAR and ask them to reschedule.