Question: Does Tewksbury Patch plan to hold a debate in the state representative race between Jim Miceli and Doug Sears? These debates are a good way for people to learn about the candidates, their positions and their personalities outside of quotes and soundbites in the news. (Editor's note: Different versions of this same question came from three readers.)
Answer: Wow, for the first time I don't have to ask anyone else for an answer to a "You Ask ... Patch Answers." I can just do it myself.
The short answer is -- hopefully.
As our readers know, Tewksbury Patch views hosting debates as our responsibility in providing voters with as much information possible to make informed decisions come election time.
With that in mind, we made arrangements with Town Manager Richard Montuori to use Town Hall on Oct 11 for a State Representative Debate between State Rep. Jim Miceli and Selectman Doug Sears.
With a location secured, invitations were sent to both candidates, as well as to Warren Carey, who is serving as Miceli's campaign manager. The format was to be simple. I would moderate. Questions would come from myself, from readers and the candidates would have the chance to ask questions of each other.
Though I had not reached out to Joe Dermody yet, the goal was to broadcast the debate live on Tewksbury Public Access and tape delay in Wilmington.
Sears responded with an acceptance to the invitation.
I received a phone call a day later from Jim Miceli declining the invitation as presented. He emphasized he was anxious to debate but wanted to do so under his terms. He pointed out that Carey was organizing "something" for candidates at the high school but I pointed out that had nothing to do with our planned debate.
Miceli said he wouldn't agree to anything until he and Carey could sit down with Sears and myself to negotiate terms of the debate, including date, format and place.
I agreed and sent out another email to Carey and to Don Ordway, who is serving as Sears' campaign manager. The email sought possible dates for a meeting between the two camps and Patch.
As of Sept. 29 at 11 a.m., Ordway has responded by phone but I have yet to hear from Carey by phone or email regarding possible dates for this meeting.
So, as things stand now, no debate is set. However, it the goal of Tewksbury Patch to schedule this 1-on-1 debate as soon as possible. The voters of Tewksbury and Wilmington deserve it. Hopefully, politics and gamesmanship will not stand in the way.