I had the opportunity to moderate a debate last night at the Hartford Public Library for a state senate race and four state representative races. As our viewers know, the headline from the debate on Eyewitness News was the story about Hector Robles, but there was much more that went on at the debate that our limited time did not allow us to broadcast.
The most in-depth coverage of the debate can be found here, on www.realhartford.org This is a blog that has consistently has great information about the city. The author is Kerri Provost, a college professor who proudly calls Frog Hollow home. She has singlehandedly been able to cast a new light on a vibrant section of the capital city that is often maligned by a few punks on Zion. I don’t always agree with everything she writes, but realhartford is well written and always interesting.
I was a little hesitant about the debate because of voter apathy that is legendary in Hartford. Voter turnout is embarrassingly low, yet we had a full house at the debate. I was also encouraged by the attitude of the voters there, many of whom have a new spirit of optimism because the long mayoral corruption saga is over, and new Mayor Pedro Segarra is moving quickly to improve the city.
I was given some suggested questions and mixed in some of my own. I tried to make the questions about local issues that a state lawmaker would have to deal with. As Kerri wrote, one candidate was in the dark about a major issue that is in the planning stages right now: the reconstruction of I-84. The building of the highway decades ago destroyed much of the city, and if it is lowered or buried it could lead to enormous opportunities for the city. That candidate needs to do some homework.
Another candidate complained to me about one of the questions posed to him, and another was disappointed I didn’t ask him a question that he was mistakenly given in advance before the debate started! All in all, it went off smoothly.
The organizers have already invited me back to moderate another debate and I look forward to it.