Submitted by Joe Angland, chair of the Greenwich Democratic Town Party
The Republican Town Committee has stated that its candidates have accepted invitations to debates hosted by the Round Hill Association, the Chamber of Commerce and The Greenwich Sentinel.
The first invitation that Democratic candidates received to a debate was a July invitation from the League of Women Voters, which has sponsored debates in all recent elections and which has proven itself a fair and responsible host. Our candidates accepted the invitation immediately. When Republican candidates said they had trouble with the proposed date, our candidates said they were flexible and happy to debate on another day. We learned only yesterday (Tuesday) that the Republicans would not participate.
My understanding is that the Round Hill Association has invited to its forum only candidates who would represent that area of Greenwich.
Trevor Crow, candidate for the State Senate in the 36th district, and Rachel Khanna, candidate for State Representative in the 149th district, the two Democratic candidates who would represent that area, have accepted the invitation to debate.
Although Steve Meskers recently helped secure $500,000 of funding for a fire house in that area of town, the area lies outside his district.
Our candidates have not been invited to any debate sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. I checked with the Chamber today (Wednesday), and they said they had never planned to host a debate and had no idea what the Republican Town Committee was talking about.
Democratic candidates would not attend a debate sponsored by The Greenwich Sentinel, which we understand is largely financed by leaders of the Republican party.
There is nothing wrong with a newspaper having a clear political leaning, but such a leaning does render it an inappropriate debate sponsor or moderator.
In order to avoid a fair debate moderated by the League of Women Voters, the Republicans have scurried around to find surrogates of their own party to host a debate. This completely belies their claim that they seek a neutral moderator and a level playing field.
The Republican offer of the Greenwich Sentinel as a debate sponsor would be akin to the Democratic candidates’ proposing to have a debate moderated by special interest groups formed to advocate women’s rights, gun safety, and environmental protection. We would be happy with such moderators, but we suspect that the Republican candidates would not.