Four debates scheduled in city electionsBy Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | February 13,2013Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Two signs for the two competing candidates for mayor are posted along Lafayette Street outside of one house in Rutland City on Tuesday.Candidates for mayor and alderman will have two debates each to make their cases to Rutland voters.
Aldermanic debates among the 12 candidates for six seats on the board are scheduled for successive Wednesdays, Feb. 20 and 27. Mayoral debates between Mayor Christopher Louras and challenger Alderman David Allaire are planned for the following Thursdays, Feb. 21 and 28. All the debates are organized with formats that include questions submitted from the audience and vetted by organizers.
The Feb. 20 Aldermanic debate will take place at PEG-TV and be broadcast live starting at 7 p.m.
“Last time we did this we had nine or 10,” organizer Paul Gallo of Rutland Creative Economy, one of the sponsoring groups, said. “This time we have 12. We’re going to create a horseshoe-type environment so everything can be seen from different angles.”
PEG-TV will hold its mayoral debate at 7 p.m. Feb. 21. PEG-TV and co-sponsor WSYB will solicit questions from viewers and listeners.
The Rutland County Democrats will organize the next forum, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Fox Room of the Rutland Free Library.
The second mayoral debate, sponsored by Rutland Creative Economy, will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Paramount Theatre.
“There’ll be a couple of creative economy questions and then we’ll move to questions from the audience,” Gallo said. “You’ll get a form as you come in and you can write your question down and submit it. We’ll hand-select from those.”
Allaire said he was pleased with the arrangements.
“I’m happy to debate at any time or any place, pretty much,” he said. “A lot of that is out of our hands. I said yes to both requests. ... One’s an hour, one’s an hour and a half. That’s two and a half hours of give and take with the candidates. It should help people make a decision.”
Louras, on the other hand, said he had wanted more.
“I though the public would benefit from a robust number of debates,” he said. “I was looking for around eight, with debates focused on individual issues or themes. We would have focused on speaking a little bit more than sound bites, less constrained by time limits.”
Louras said he contacted a number of organizations he thought would be interested in hosting debates, but only the two materialized.
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