Observations on tonight’s State Rep debate

I just got back from tonight’s debate of the candidates for the 18th Middlesex State Representative District.  The debate was sponsored by the Lowell Sun and UMass Lowell and it was held in the new University Crossing Building which is at Merrimack and Pawtucket Streets.  If you’ve lived in Lowell for a long time, it’s the former site of St. Joseph’s Hospital.  In that regard, I joked to a few people tonight that the last time I was in the building was the day I was born.  The building is fantastic.  Stop by and check out the bookstore, the coffee shop and the cafe which are all open to the public.

The debate featured Democratic candidates Brian Donovan, Jim Leary, Rady Mom, Dave Ouellette and Paul Ratha Yem as well as unenrolled candidate Fred Bahou.  Bahou will face the winner of Tuesday’s Democratic Primary in the general election in November.  There is no Republican candidate.  The moderator for tonight’s debate was Frank Talty.  The panelists were Chris Scott of the Lowell Sun, Soben Pin of the KhmerPost USA, and Phil Geoffroy who is a student trustee at UMass Lowell.  The large audience – maybe 200 people?? – was welcomed by Chancellor Marty Meehan.

I brought my laptop and sat in the front row.  As the debate took place, I typed and typed and typed capturing a full set of notes of who said what (although it’s not a verbatim transcript).  As far as I could tell, no one was video recording the debate so my notes might be the most complete account of what happened.  They’re available HERE.

This is the second debate held among these candidates.  The first was sponsored by the KhmerPost USA and featured the five Democratic candidates.  It was held at LTC and shown live on local cable TV.  A full video recording of that debate is available on the LTC website.  You can find a link to that video in a blog post I wrote about that debate.  I also added a second post with a full set of notes from that debate in case you prefer reading to watching a video.

Finally, to put this election in a historical context, I wrote a blog post recounting all the state representative elections in Lowell since 1974.  It’s available HERE.

Below are some photos from tonight.  These and more are available in an album on my Facebook page.

Fred Bahou, Brian Donovan, Rady Mom, Jim Leary, Dave Ouellette, Paul Ratha Yem


Chancellor Marty Meehan

Frank Talty

University Crossing at night