MERIDEN — Candidates seeking state legislative seats will field questions on key campaign issues during a forum Thursday at Washington Middle School.
The forum, free and open to the public, will be held 6 p.m. Thursday at Washington Middle School, 1225 N. Broad Street, and will include candidates running in the 13th Senate District and 82nd and 83rd House districts. Each candidate in the 13th, 82nd and 83rd district races has confirmed they will participate.
The Record-Journal, Midstate Chamber of Commerce and Meriden Public Schools are sponsoring the forum, which will be moderated by Mike Savino, the Record-Journal’s local and state news editor. Candidates will field questions from panelists from the Record-Journal and Midstate chamber, as well as questions submitted from the public.
Each candidate will have 90 seconds to answer direct questions and their opponent will have one minute to give a rebuttal. Each candidate will also be given 90 seconds to make a closing statement.
Republican incumbent Len Suzio is seeking re-election in the 13th Senate District, which covers all of Meriden and Middlefield and parts of Middletown and Cheshire, against Democrat Mary Daugherty Abrams, a longtime Meriden resident and retired school administrator seeking her first public office. Abrams won a primary in August against 24-year-old Fairfield transplant Alex Tiktinsky to earn the Democratic nomination.
Democratic incumbent Catherine Abercrombie is being challenged in the 83rd House District, covering parts of Meriden and Berlin, by Republican Lou Arata and Libertarian candidate Roger Misbach, both seeking their first term.
In the 82nd House District, which covers parts of Meriden and Middlefield, Democratic incumbent Emil “Buddy” Altobello is seeking his 13th consecutive term against Republican Ernestine Holloway, who also ran for mayor in Meriden as a petitioning candidate last year.
Participation in the forum is limited to candidates in contested races. Hilda Santiago, Democratic incumbent seeking reelection in the 84th House District, is running unopposed.
Record-Journal Editor Ralph Tomaselli called the forum an “extension” of one of the paper’s “primary missions to provide information for the electorate.”
“Staff members have already put a lot of time and effort into planning for the forum. I am proud of those efforts and appreciate the contributions from our partners,” he said.
Midstate Chamber of Commerce President Sean Moore said the chamber “wants our communities to be as informed as possible before they go into the voting booth.” The chamber, as a business organization, “wants to make sure candidates are putting forth an agenda and platform that supports business growth,” he added.
“We’re in an area with a higher-than-state-average unemployment rate, so this is the (candidates’) time to put their platform forward,” Moore said.