SOUTHINGTON — Candidates for state office will share their stances on issues at a forum later this month.
The Southington Chamber of Commerce is organizing the forum to be held at the Southington Public Library on Thursday, Oct. 20. Candidates in the state Senate district and four state House districts that include Southington are invited.
General Assembly hopefuls will take questions submitted by residents. Barbara Hekeler, chamber executive director, said the focus is on learning about candidates’ views rather than allowing them to take shots at their opponents.
“The key reason why we don’t do a debate in all honesty is that we want to clearly hear where the candidates stand on a position,” Hekeler said. “The public isn’t as interested in hearing any type of adversarial comments against their opponent. We’re more interested in hearing what each candidate has to say.”
Residents can submit questions to the chamber via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The library will also provide a link that will allow residents to submit questions anonymously.
Hekeler said chamber officials will compile the submitted questions, remove duplicates and have candidates randomly draw them during the forum.Five races
Hekeler is inviting nine candidates to the forum later this month.
Running for the 16th Senate district are incumbent Republican Rob Sampson and his Democratic challenger Chris Robertson.
In the 81st state House district, Democrat Chris Poulos and Republican Tony Morrison are vying for an open seat.
Gail Mastrofrancesco, Republican representative for the 80th House district, is running unopposed.
A portion of Southington was included in the 22nd state House district during the recent redistricting. Two Plainville residents, Republican Francis Rexford Cooley and Democrat Rebecca Martinez, are running for the open seat.
In the 30th House district, Republican incumbent Donna Veach is facing Democrat Denise McNair.Support from both parties
Steve Kalkowski, chairman of the Southington Republican Town Committee, said he and Republican candidates look forward to the forum and a chance to showcase their views.
“It gives people the ability to see and hear from our candidates directly rather than through reading about it or seeing it through social media. I think the live events are really important for as many of our citizens as possible,” Kalkowski said. “We’ve very supportive of it. Our candidates are very excited about participating in it.”
Erin Cowles, chairwoman of the Southington Democratic Town Committee, also supported the forum.
“I think a healthy discussion about what’s going on in the world is never a bad thing, to get everyone's perspective on how they feel about current issues,” she said.