Political notes: No Norwalk debate in 143rd, but pols still going head to head

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 4.
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Updated 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, with a statement from Keith Rodgerson’s communications director.

NORWALK, Conn. – We’re scratching our heads over this, but if Norwalkers in the 143rd District want to see and hear a live debate between incumbent Republican state Rep. Gail Lavielle and Democratic challenger, Keith Rodgerson, they have to saddle up and head out of town.

The 143rd comprises parts of Norwalk, Wilton and Westport. According to the Rodgerson campaign, there are 14,586 voters in the district, including 7,096 in Wilton (where both candidates reside), 6,221 in Norwalk and just 1,269 in Westport.

The candidates from the 143rd already debated once in Westport as reported here on NancyOnNorwalk, but they’ll be headed back there at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, to talk environmental issues at Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane, Westport. The questions on a variety of environmental topics are being submitted by the Earthplace board and staff, Westport Green Task Force, students and members of the community. The debate will be moderated by the Westport Green Task Force Chairman David Mann.

Prior to that, the candidates will lock horns from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, at the Trackside Teen Center, 15 Station Road in Wilton.

Norwalk voters? Sorry, no dice. Apparently nothing could be worked out between the campaigns and sponsoring agencies. NoN was approached a few weeks ago about running a debate, but simply ran out of time to pull it together.

Norwalk voters in the 143rd should make an effort to see, hear or, at least, read about the remaining debates, as the race has been the most hard-fought (to be nice) of the local races post-primary.

Rodgerson’s communications director, Dave Ryan, issued this statement Saturday morning:

“Mr. Rodgerson has been dutifully trying to get a commitment from Rep. Lavielle for a debate in Norwalk since early in his campaign.  Both campaigns are acutely aware that there are over 6,000 voters in the Norwalk portion of the 143rd district and that this race will be won in the streets of Norwalk.  Instead of defending her conservatism and record Ms. Lavielle continues to obscure her value system from Norwalk’s voters.  Her campaign continues to focus on distraction, obfuscation and personal attacks instead of committing to an open defense of an otherwise indefensible voting record in service to special interests that seek to deplete our economy and harm her constituents.”

The League of Women Voters of Norwalk and Wilton, the Coalition of Norwalk Neighborhood Associations (CNNA) and the Hour Newspapers are co-sponsoring state legislative candidate forums. All forums are free and open to the public.  There will be time for audience questions.

Democrat Andy Garfunkel and Republican Fred Wilms, both hoping to replace retiring long-term GOP rep Larry Cafero in the 142nd State House District, will be from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, at Temple Shalom, 259 Richards Ave. The 142nd comprises parts of Norwalk and New Canaan.

From 7 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, the candidates in the 25th State Senate District will parry and thrust in the Norwalk City Hall Community Room, 125 East Ave. Incumbent Democrat Bob Duff is seeking a sixth term in office and is facing a challenge from Planning Commission member Bill Dunne.

For further information email the League of Women Voters at [email protected] or call 203-394-1710.

Three debates have been confirmed between candidates for the 4th Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Jim Himes and Republican challenger Dan Debicella, a former state senator from Shelton:

  • Sunday, Oct. 19, 4 p.m. at the Clune Center at Wilton High School, sponsored by the Wilton League of Women Voters
  • Monday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m. at the Gen Re Auditorium at UConn Stamford, sponsored by the World Affairs Forum. Focus will be on foreign policy.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 28, noon to 1 p.m., lunch; 1 to 2 p.m. debate at the Norwalk Inn, 99 East Ave. Reservations required (norwalkchamberofcommerce.com). A media panel will be moderated by Tom Appleby of Channel 12. Hosted by the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce.

Three more debates currently in the works are being organized and sponsored by Hersam Acorn Media, WICC Radio, and the AARP.

The debate format will include questions collected in writing from the audience and others prepared by LWV members. All questions will be presented by moderator Kay Maxwell, a former president of the national LWV and currently executive director of the Stamford-based World Affairs Forum.

“The leagues of Southwestern Connecticut — the 4th Congressional District — have joined forces to present a centrally-located forum for area residents to learn the candidates’ positions on national and local issues, particularly those impacting our region,” said debate facilitator Jara Burnett of Greenwich.

Co-sponsors are LWV chapters of the Bridgeport Area (an entity that includes Shelton and some other nearby towns), Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton.

For additional information about the Oct. 19 debate, visit the LWV of Connecticut website or call Jara Burnett at 203-637-9244 or the LWV office at 203-288-7996.


The representative will see you now

State Rep. Chris Perone (D-137) will holding office hours at local restaurants this week.

“I would like to continue the conversation I began with my voters during the primary. By listening to their points of view I am able to better represent them up in Hartford,” Perone said in a press release.

Perone, a five-term incumbent, is being challenged – sort of – by former Republican Town Committee Chairman Art Scialabba, who is running a non-traditional campaign that includes doing virtually nothing beyond a statement issued in September.

Perone will hold office hours from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 20 at Family Diner, 71 Main St., Oct. 22 at Penny’s Diner, 212 East Ave., and Oct. 24 at Fat Cat Pie Co., 9-11 Wall St.


6 responses to “Political notes: No Norwalk debate in 143rd, but pols still going head to head”

  1. Donald Jones

    Does she even know where Norwalk is?

  2. Joruh

    Where’s Bill on this? I want to hear his spin. So much for all that conservative pride…

  3. Norwalk Sage

    Someone didn’t do their fact-checking, or is guilty of spinning the truth. The 143rd Debate on October 21 is CO-sponsored by the Wilton AND Norwalk LWV. Looks like the League of Wonen Voters believes Norwalk is being represented just fine.

    1. Mark Chapman


      The point is where the debate is happening, not who is sponsoring.

  4. Donald Jones

    Lavielle is scared of debating in Norwalk. It is too ‘salt of the earth’ for her and her snobby ways.

  5. Andrea Light

    That sounds pretty nasty Donald Jones. First, Gail has knocked on every door in her district in Norwalk and it shows by her great results at the polls. She is an excellent communicator, a fighter, focused and several more superlatives that serve her well as a representative and a politician. She happens to be smart and classy – is that a fault these days? Second, and this is general to the blog. It does NON a disservice to be insensitive in one’s comments. It makes folks – well, me anyway – wary of participating in the conversation because they (I) don’t want to get slammed. The disservice is that some people come to regard the blog as a mud-slinging site and that reprutation won’t sustain it very long.

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