Oneida GOP candidates will not participate in the PAC 99 Candidate Forum – Oneida Dispatch

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Oneida, NY – Local candidates have the opportunity to discuss important Oneida issues at a candidate forum this Thursday. Only, the Republican candidates will not be present.

The forum, hosted by Public Access Channel (PAC) 99, will take place this Thursday at the Oneida Public Library from 5:30 p.m. and is designed for voters to meet with candidates and ask questions, according to the the event’s Facebook page.

In a statement sent to the Dispatch, Republican President of Oneida City, Gary Reisman Jr., confirmed and explained why his party’s candidates would not participate.

“As is true in the National State and now we see it in our city, Democrats believe they can dictate unilaterally and people will follow. The town of Oneida is not a one-party town and if they really wanted a bipartisan debate they would have involved Republicans first, ”Reisman said.

Reisman says standard practice for planning a forum, from “presidential debates to local elections,” is for the two parties to meet to agree on a date, time, place and rules. “None of this has happened here because Democrats are clearly not interested in a fair, two-party approach,” he said.

In fact, he said Republican candidates were not invited to participate at all.

Bruce Burke, chairman of PAC 99, said Republicans were invited. He noted that email invitations were sent out on September 7. [email protected] was the email address used to notify Reisman about the forum, according to the original email. Reisman has not yet confirmed whether this address is functional. Correspondence between Reisman and the Dispatch was sent through a different address. The email address listed on the Oneida Town Republican Committee Facebook page is [email protected]

Oneida Democratic Committee Chairman John Nichols confirmed his party’s invitation and acceptance. Most Democratic candidates plan to attend, he said, with a few on hold as they manage conflicting schedules. He said based on what was heard it had been known for some time that the Republican candidates had no intention of attending.

Nichols also explained the involvement of the Oneida Democratic Party in the forum. He said his party thought it was a good idea to create a community forum, as was done in the past for previous elections. Knowing that Democrats couldn’t organize one due to bias, he approached Burke to see if PAC 99, what he called a neutral group that could host the event, would be interested in starting something. thing. Burke agreed.

“PAC 10, Inc. dba PAC 99 does not endorse any candidate or endorse any particular political party or point of view,” PAC 99 wrote in a recent Facebook statute dealing with political programming coverage.

The choice of forum location was based on finances and convenience, Nichols said. The Kallet, where previous forums have been held, would cost money, he said. Oneida’s public library, with a new community hall, wouldn’t cost a dime.

It should be noted that there is a pre-existing link between the library and the Oneida Democratic Party, as the Democratic candidate for city chamberlain, Lillian White, is also a member of the library’s board of directors. Burke said he was “in contact with a member of the library board” when he determined the available dates, and he went from there. The city’s Democratic Party has reserved the Oneida Library community hall for the event, Nichols said, once the date was confirmed.

Nichols said his party had no involvement in the scheduling of the event. It was all between PAC 99 and the library, he says. Burke said the same, that the date was chosen based on the PIC 99 library and schedule. Nichols said whatever time and date they chose, the Democratic candidates would have made it work. .

“We could have agreed on a date, time, place and moderator and all of our candidates would be there,” Reisman said. “I hope this can be done correctly and fairly for the next election.”

This election is no surprise, the Democratic president said, and having a forum like this shouldn’t come as a shock either, he added. Nichols said if Republicans didn’t like the time and date, they could have come up with alternatives.

The moderator position was also a point of contention for Reisman. The town’s Democratic Party reached out to Dan Jones to moderate the event, Nichols said, because “he did MC work the last round, announced the Memorial Day parade and people respect him.”

Nichols has said he thinks Jones is a Republican. This has not been confirmed. “In addition, it is not easy to find people willing to stand up and speak in front of a group. He added that the Republican Party also did not attend the last forum.

As moderator in this particular context, Jones’ position will be to present incoming questions from those dealing with candidates. There will be a clerk who will receive questions from the audience on cards. There will be additional prepared questions of a more general nature to which one or all of the candidates will answer, depending on PAC 99. This forum is not a political debate.

The program is billed as a “Meet the Candidates” event, according to its Facebook event page. Students from Oneida City High School have also been invited to participate in the program.

“I understand why [the Republican candidates] wouldn’t want to have a forum with us because they have more to lose than to gain because they’re already the incumbent, ”Nichols explained. “It’s a political decision, I understand that. But to say that they had no contribution? I bet they didn’t offer one.

Reisman did not respond to follow-up questions for the Dispatch. Oneida Mayor Helen Acker did not respond to a request for comment.

“Our candidates will continue to speak directly with voters about our plans to ensure that city and county government operates effectively and efficiently,” Reisman concluded in his statement. “We will work to limit taxes, improve our economy and ensure that basic services like police protection and clean streets are a priority.”

Nichol said any Republican candidate can always decide to run. “No one would think badly of them,” he said.


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