From Marilyn Moore, campaign manager for school board challenge candidates:
Marilyn Moore, campaign manager for the BEST (Better Education Starts Today) slate of Board of Education candidates, called on the party-endorsed candidates to unruffle their feathers, accept whatever possible breakdown in communications there may have been and show up at the forum tonight (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. or be prepared to spend the last week before the primary defending time and time again why they were afraid to debate in public.
The BEST candidates include business owner and current City Council Representative Andre Baker, community activist and minority business representative, Howard Gardner and retired Bridgeport school teacher and local sports coach, Dave Hennessey.
“Even their excuses sound weak, ‘because they were not invited by the forum organizers’ and they would rather ‘speak directly to the residents’ rather than appear at a public forum. To me it sounds like they are ill prepared and would rather shun the public spotlight,” Moore offered as her assessment. Moore was advised by Common Cause Monday afternoon that DTC chairman Mario Testa was unavailable and no one from the Mayor’s office responded to calls.
“They are not saying they were unaware of the event. They are not saying they have other conflicting commitments at that time. Their excuse sounds like campaign drivel and political rhetoric,” Moore continued.
The BEST manager said she was personally contacted by Cheri Quickmire an executive with Connecticut’s Common Cause, one of the forum co-sponsors and readily accepted. But Moore said that her political connections are deep and statewide and so are the candidates running on the BEST ticket.
Moore groused that, on the other hand, maybe because the Democratic Town Committee chose to endorse little-known candidates with a low-profile campaign manager, organizers did have a difficult time trying to find them. But then again, the endorsed slate does not claim to have no knowledge of the event.
“Maybe the Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa or Mayor Bill Finch dissuaded them from participating. They delivered the endorsement for the slate. The machine is promising to deliver the victory. So if elected, the candidates will in turn deliver their votes to the powerbrokers,” Moore continued.
“Maybe they just feel there is no need to educate themselves in the real issues if all they are going to do is to vote as they are told by the mayor. If he cannot appoint his own board getting three candidates who apparently feel no allegiance to the public is the next best thing.”
Moore dropped this challenge to the endorsed slate. “We will be at the Burroughs Center this evening to address the public’s concerns and to answer any questions that they may have of our candidates. If our opponents decided to stay at home so be it.”
Moore noted that at least two of the three endorsed candidates showed up at a PAC endorsement session a few weeks back; maybe that was naivety, maybe that was perceived acceptance or maybe it was the potential campaign contribution that caused them to attend.
So Moore offered this second challenge. If all three endorsed candidates show up and outperform the BEST candidates Moore will make a campaign contribution to their ticket.
“If I can get them out in public and debating the issues with our slate then it would be money well spent,” Moore concluded.