2017-09-13 / News

District 19 Candidates Forum hosted by Delaware Democrats

By Stacie Skelley

For the first time locally, eight candidates vying for the chance to take on John Faso in the next election, spoke at a Q&A hosted and live streamed by The Electoral Action Working Group of Delaware County Solidarity at United Ministry of Delhi Saturday afternoon, August 26 from 4-7 p.m.

With standing room only and some departing early and others arriving late, almost 150 people packed the basement conference room at 6 Church St., for a Candidate Forum that ran over 3 hours.

The Moderator, Bonnie Ratnoff Seegmiller, Ph.D., of Colchester, is a psychologist and retired professor from Hunter College of the City University of NY, with a focus on human rights, social justice, racism, domestic violence, child abuse, climate change and the environment.

Seegmiller kicked off the Forum by saying that all Congressional District NY19 announced candidates were invited, eight participated: Jeff Beals, Steven Brisee, Dave Clegg, Antonio Delgado, Brian Flynn, Gareth Rhodes, Pat Ryan and Sue Sullivan. The currently serving Congressman John Faso was invited but was unable to attend. She also stated that the event was recorded and live-streamed by Christina Hunt Wood and that all the candidates had agreed to that condition to participate.

Online bios

Read briefly about the candidates at: dcnydems.org/candidates

Seegmiller then described the Forum format. Each of the eight candidates were allowed a four minute opening statement and had been provided with three questions on the economy, health care, and electability they needed to address during their opening statements that were provided prior to the Forum.

Next was a 45 minute period of a couple of 2 minute questions followed by several 30 second “speed dating” questions from moderator Seegmiller that explored local job creation, clean energy, healthcare, candidates voting records, and electability to beat out the Republican candidate in 2018.

The Q&A from the audience then ranged from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permitting fees, local Constitution pipeline impacts, and a yes or no on support of Universal Health Care.

Summarizing the event, Seegmiller said “That approximately 150 people attended our Candidates Forum in Delhi on Sat Aug 26th is a clear statement that people are, or want the opportunity to be, engaged in the political process. We are quite pleased to have been able to provide an opportunity for voters to ask questions in person of these candidates and to have these questions answered directly.”

She continued, “I heard from many that they also valued interacting one-on-one with the candidates during the breaks, and that they felt that all of them would make excellent Congressional legislators. By all accounts, the event was a huge success! Hopefully, it will also motivate people to become more involved in the political process.”

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