Virtual 'Friday Forums' Hosting Newtown's Statehouse Candidates
With COVID-19 forcing changes to the way Connecticut voters cast ballots this year, and with no-fault absentee balloting scheduled to begin October 2, The Newtown Bee will be using Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube to introduce and hear from local delegation statehouse candidates.
These virtual forums will replace the live candidates’ forum The Newtown Bee typically hosts two weeks before Election Day, according to Editor Nancy Crevier, who is hosting the weekly online events.
“The Newtown Bee is pleased to have the candidates’ participation this year in Zoom format, and we look forward to programs that will engage viewers — and be presented in a safe manner," she said. "The great thing, too, is that these noontime forums will be available on our YouTube channel after each presentation, for those who are unable to watch as they unfold.
"We believe the live forums presented by The Newtown Bee in previous years, as well as last election season’s well-attended casual meetup at Reverie Brewing Company, have been an important service to the community and expect that this year’s unusual offering will continue to provide that real-time look at the candidates’ positions on a variety of issues,” said Crevier.
“As we have in past years, we are soliciting questions from residents for consideration. What Newtowners feel are critical issues that need answers are a vital piece of this kind of presentation. We will be accepting questions by e-mail up until the day before each forum. Questions submitted should be relative to the candidates featured each week. We will cover diverse issues based on these submissions,” she added.
The Newtown Bee’s Friday Forums will begin September 11, at noon, with incumbent Democratic State Rep Raghib Allie-Brennan, and his Republican challenger and former 2nd District Rep Dan Carter.
Friday Forums are scheduled to follow at noon on September 18 with 28th District GOP State Senator Tony Hwang and his returning Democratic challenger Michelle McCabe; and on September 25 with Newtown’s 106th District Republican Rep Mitch Bolinsky and returning Democratic challenger Rebekah Harriman-Stites.
Then, as absentee ballots become available Friday, October 2, The Newtown Bee will host a shorter and modified forum inviting 112th District GOP Rep JP Sredzinski to discuss his positions on key issues facing the General Assembly. To date, Sredzinski is running unopposed.
While plans are still being made, the October 2 forum or a subsequent event may include one or more local voting officials discussing the latest information local registered voters will need to know about this year’s balloting process and information important to those planning to cast ballots in person on Election Day.
Anyone wishing to submit questions for consideration can do so until noon on the Thursdays preceding the Friday Forums. Send questions to email@example.com, with “Friday Forum questions” in the subject line.
As is the case with the The Newtown Bee’s annual live forum, these virtual Friday Forums will be produced by Associate Editor John Voket.
“Our previous live election season forums invite an entire group of candidates to debate their ideas and positions on stage at Edmond Town Hall at the same time,” Voket said. “But these virtual forums will still take place live and will be available for later viewing on The Newtown Bee’s Facebook and YouTube sites before the date Newtown voters will be eligible to begin casting ballots. We think this format provides a new and innovative way to help residents decide who will best represent them in Hartford for the next two years.”