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Debates are on!

WINSTED — Democratic, Republican, Winsted Independent and unaffliliated candidates for local office will appear at two debates at The Gilbert School on consecutive Thursday evenings, Oct. 22 and 29.

The debates, hosted by political science students at Gilbert, will feature candidates for the Board of Education on Oct. 22 and the Board of Selectmen on Oct. 29. The debates begin at 7 p.m. and will be open to the public.

“We’ve had two of the Democratic candidates come to speak to the class and the entire Winsted Independent Party came in,” said Donald Goetz, political science teacher at Gilbert. Goetz said that all parties will participate in the debate even if not all candidates are present.

The debates are being organized by The Gilbert School, with sponsorship from The Winsted Journal. This writer will moderate the debates, fielding questions from students and members of the public, who will be asked to submit questions on index cards.

There was some confusion as to whether the local Republican Party would participate in the debates, as a press release was issued last month saying the party wished to have the debates held on Saturdays. Goetz said Mayor Kenneth Fracasso, who is leading the Republican charge this year, called last week to say the GOP will indeed participate in the Thursday night debates at Gilbert.

Charter Community Television’s Channel 13 will be at both of the scheduled debates and will air the programs immediately following each debate and in subsequent time slots for public viewing.

“The students are very excited,” Goetz said. “We are doing a test run in the auditorium this week with some practice questions. Our class has been looking at all the newspapers and the students have a good understanding of the issues.”

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