UPDATE: Jean Rabinow of the Bridgeport Area League of Women Voters informed OIB Monday night the forum scheduled for Tuesday (tonight) for Democratic school board candidates has been cancelled. “We regret that we cannot go forward with the forum,” she said. “It was our understanding that all candidates were notified. Out of fairness to all candidates we have cancelled the event. It’s our policy not to be involved in a forum that would be one-sided.”
The campaign manager for three endorsed Democrats running in a September 10 primary for Board of Education issued a statement on Monday that they will not participate in a Tuesday forum at the Burroughs Community Center “because they were not invited by the forum organizers” the Bridgeport Area League of Women Voters and Common Cause in Connecticut. News release follows:
The Democratic endorsed candidates for the Board of Education, Kathryn Roach Bukovsky, Rev. Simon Castillo and Brandon Clark, announced today that they will not be participating in a candidate forum scheduled for Tuesday evening because they were not invited by forum organizers.
“Katie, Brandon and Rev. Castillo have been working very hard since being nominated, speaking directly to the residents of Bridgeport about this very critical election and what role they will play in improving the schools to create a better future for our city,” said Emily Basham, campaign manager. “The candidates have decided to continue to speak directly to the residents, rather than put their positive momentum to a halt to participate in a forum that they were not invited to attend.”
The Democratic primary election will be held on Tuesday, September 10. Residents interested in learning more about the candidates can log on to www.facebook.com/citizensforstudents or call the campaign’s headquarters at (203) 572-7822.
Last Thursday the Bridgeport Area League of Women Voters and Common Cause in Connecticut announced a candidates forum for school board for Tuesday September 3, 6 p.m. at the Burroughs Community Center, 2470 Fairfield Avenue in Black Rock. Jean Rabinow of the Bridgeport Area League of Women Voters told OIB last Thursday that she believed that most of the six candidates had been invited, but certainly all six would be invited within the next day or so. She also said forum organizers had not yet settled on a moderator, but she would perform that function if necessary.
The three endorsed candidates, according to the news release, say they were not invited. Part of the sticking point could be the late notice of the event and the actual value these forums present for candidates. Attendance for these forums are generally comprised of supporters of the various camps, leaving to chance media outlets reporting candidates positions to the electorate. Some political operatives believe there is more value for candidates to reach voters directly through door knocking and phone calls than attending forums, especially in low-turnout primaries.
On the top line three candidates, Kathryn Bukovsky, Simon Castillo and Brandon Clark, have the backing of Mayor Bill Finch and traditional interests of the Democratic Town Committee experienced in churning out a vote. On line two three candidates, City Councilman Andre Baker, Dave Hennessey and Howard Gardner, are supported by disaffected political operatives as well as the Bridgeport Education Association representing teachers and the Connecticut Working Families Party that seeks coalition control of the Board of Education. The WFP has three of its candidates on the nine-member school board. It has endorsed three candidates for the November general election including Andre Baker.
Two weeks ago five of the six school board candidates attended a forum hosted by the political action group Citizens Working For A Better Bridgeport.
Katie Bukovsky, one of the three endorsed Democrats for school board, is scheduled to appear on the Bridgeport Now cable access show co-hosted by Jennifer Buchanan tonight 8 p.m. on Channel 88.