This past Tuesday night I served as moderator of the debate of the five candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the 18th Middlesex State Representative District. For 90 minutes, the candidates – Brian Donovan, Jim Leary, Rady Mom, Dave Ouellette and Paul Ratha Yem, answered questions about some of the major issues facing the city and the state. Posing questions were Soben Pin of the KhmerPost USA newspaper (which also sponsored the debate), Mealea Chan-Polcari, a realtor and contributor to the KhmerPost, and Jennifer Lord Paluzzi, the digital editor of The Lowell Sun.
The debate originated from the studios of Lowell Telecommunications Corporation and was televised live on Lowell cable channels 8 and 99. It was also streamed live on ltc.org. The entire debate is now available on-demand on the LTC website and I have embedded the video from the site below:
The debate will also be replayed in its entirety on Channel 99 on the following dates and times:
8/21 – 4pm
8/22 – 10pm
8/24 – 8pm
8/26 – 3:30pm
8/28 – 6:30pm
8/30 – 12:30pm
8/31 – 5:30pm
9/1 – 6:30pm
The debate format featured two minute opening statements from the candidates followed by a series of questions posed to the candidates by the panelists. Each candidate was allowed to answer each question. The topics of the questions asked during the debate were public safety; how to promote Asian-owned businesses; the Market Basket dispute; the high cost of higher education; housing policy and the Hamilton Canal district; a self-comparison of the candidate with the former representative for the district (Kevin Murphy); how the candidate would represent a district that has a majority of Cambodian-American residents; how would the candidate help promote women in business and government; and the candidate’s position on casinos. This was followed by two minute closing statements by the candidates.
On Tuesday, September 9, 2014, voters in the Democratic Primary will select one of these candidates to run in the state election in November where he will face Fred Bahou, an unenrolled candidate (there is no Republican seeking the office). Many of the city’s polling places have been changed for this and future elections, so be sure to check the election office website to confirm where you will vote on September 9.
Finally, I would like to thank all who made this debate possible including the candidates, the panelists, our timekeepers (Judith Durant and Nancy Pitkin), the staff and volunteers at LTC who did an amazing job with the production, and Soben and Roger Pin, the owners of the KhmerPost USA newspaper for performing the important public service of helping voters learn more about the candidates for this very important office.