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When and Where to Debate, a Point of Contention Between Candidates for Mayor

Mayor Kevin Dumas is asking his opponent for Mayor, Ronald Churchill to commit to "several substantive debates."

To The Editor:

In the Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, , again writes another rambling simple Letter to the Editor, wanting to express his opinion on issues facing the City. This letter is another perfect example why the Citizens of Attleboro deserve several substantive debates prior to casting their votes on November 8.

As a mayoral candidate, it is inexcusable for Mr. Churchill to lob and then take cover and refuse to participate in public debates on those very issues.

In July, I personally challenged Mr. Ron Churchill to the first in a series of at least three debates aimed at educating the public on the issues that impact our City’s future and the lives of all its residents.

This challenge was in support of the Sun Chronicle Editorial Staff’s recommendation for a series of substantive debates to take place in the City. I noted in my challenge, that I would be happy to work with any of the local past sponsors of debates in the City including the City political parties, Double ACS Cable, , the Sun Chronicle, and the local Chamber of Commerce. 

Nine weeks later, I still had not heard from any organization. With that in mind, last week, I contacted Bristol Community College and they agreed to both moderate and host a Mayoral debate as long as both candidates agreed to show up. I then contacted Ron Churchill to inform him that the College was willing to work with our Committees to produce a Mayor debate at one of three different October dates (October 6, 12 or 13). During that phone conversation, Mr. Churchill agreed to the October 13 date. 

This is the format I had suggested: Each candidate would give a three minute opening statement, followed by each candidate asking five questions of the other candidate, with a one minute rebuttal. Each candidate could then give a three minute closing statement. Candidates would not be given the questions in advance.

Since then, Mr. Churchill and his Committee changed their mind and now refuse to participate in the Bristol Community College debate. Many phone calls were made to Mr. Churchill and his Committee seeking reasons why they backed out of the three dates. There were conflicting reasons given by Mr. Churchill and his committee for not participating in this debate.

The facts seem to point that no date or terms seem to be agreeable to Mr. Churchill, and I now believe that his goal is that he is not interested at all in participating in any substantive debate. This will be a great disservice to the Voters of Attleboro, as they need to be able to make an informed decision about Attleboro's future, in this year's election.

While I remain hopeful that Mr. Churchill will honor his latest commitment to participate in the November 3rd forum at the, there is no legitimate reason why he cannot commit to two additional mayoral debates during the month of October. 

If a candidate for Mayor is not willing to talk to the voters now, regarding the issues of the day, how will they be able to communicate with the voters, staff, and employees of the City once in office? Leading the City of Attleboro is a serious job. Being the Mayor of Attleboro is about knowing the issues and being prepared to explain your platform, policies, and experience to the voters when asked. It's about being able to express yourself when asked random questions and not just reading from a cue card. I continue to anticipate that at least three substantive debates will take place, including debates where there is time for the general public to ask questions. The citizens of Attleboro deserve no less.

Sincerely,

Mayor Kevin J. Dumas

Editor's Note: A debate will be held at Attleboro City Hall, according to one of the two debate sponors, The United Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Sun Chronicle. Questions for the debate will be solicited from the public, according to organizers. Chris Bond, who is a business broker and does not live or work in Attleboro, will be the moderator. A date for the mayoral debate will be determined by Monday. 

CHKM October 01, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Fellow Attleboro Residents, Exactly. The residents of Attleboro deserve a series of debates, so they can make an educated voting decision and it shouldn't be down to the last minute, just before the poles open. I find it ridiculous to stall and wait until the last minute to have a debate, as it demonstrates ill planning and poor consideration for our city on Churchill's part.  It is more than reasonable to consider your own hand-selected campaign manager capable of setting up a "clean" debate, as you’ve proposed for October 13th.  The local newspaper is not a debate forum and nor is the opinion's section, where I read many of Churchill's latest remarks.  Anyone can write letters. The real question is: Can they do more? I read in the paper this week: his reaction to faltering over proposed debates is to call Mayor Dumas “immature.” Honestly, if someone called me on my crap, I’d own it. A leader, a real leader always takes one for the team, because its a part of the job. And the position of Mayor is a “job”. This race is not a popularity contest, it is a bid for the best suited candidate for the job. Continued below......
CHKM October 01, 2011 at 08:16 PM
A leader is a person with a passion for the cause that is larger than they are. Leaders are visionaries that can not only envision a brighter future, but they create a strategic plan to pave the way to reach their goals and objectives. I'm aware that not everyone agrees 100% of the time with politicians.  With that being said, during his tenure Mayor Dumas has done a tremendous job in keeping the city's essential services afloat. He has kept programs and provided new ones to keep our city moving forward, despite the economic downturn drastically effecting our state.  Considering the Mayor's track record, the current state of our city and the Mayor's vision for our future, I know that we are in good hands. Mayor Dumas, I Thank you for taking this election seriously and continuing to demonstrate what leadership is. CHKM
blueskies October 01, 2011 at 10:10 PM
How do we know that the letters to the editor were actually written by a candidate. For all I know they might have been ghostwritten by a campaign manager! Unless there is a debate how could we possibly know exactly what the candidate has to SAY on the issue???
CHKM October 01, 2011 at 11:05 PM
Good point blueskies. I feel exactly the same way!
Mark Ambrose October 06, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Isn't the bottom line really what can be done to keep these obscene water and sewer bills down? Who can afford to water their lawn anymore? How about people with swimming pools? If I'm going to pay through the nose, I at least want something to show for it. I can even stand drinking it.

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