Four forums set in state Senate contest


TOWNSHEND -- Voters will have a chance to attend four public forums for Windham County's contested Democratic state Senate race.

The first is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 24, at Townshend's town hall. It will follow a format similar to that planned for the others: Four Democrats running for the seat will introduce themselves and then take questions.

Three other forums will follow in advance of the Aug. 26 primary -- July 31 in Bellows Falls, Aug. 13 in the town of Windham and Aug. 21 in Brattleboro. All but the Windham meeting are organized by the Windham County Democrats.

"We have a great group of candidates running to represent Windham County in the state Senate this year, and we want to make sure that they get the chance to exchange their ideas with one another so folks can get a sense of who will represent their ideals in Montpelier," said Betty Frye, who is coordinating the forums and represents Windham County on the State Democratic Committee.

Two state Senate seats represent all of Windham County aside from the towns of Wilmington, which is in the Bennington County Senate District, and Londonderry, which is part of the Windsor County district.

Current Windham County Sen. Peter Galbraith, D-Townshend, announced in June that he would not seek a new term.

That leaves Sen. Jeanette White, D-Putney, as the sole incumbent in the race. Three other Democrats also are running for the party's two available nominations -- Roger Allbee of Townshend, Becca Balint of Brattleboro and Joan Bowman of Putney.

There are no other primary races for Windham County Senate: Two Liberty Union candidates are on the ballot, and no Republicans filed to run.

The Townshend forum this Thursday is expected to feature all four Democratic candidates. Attendees can write questions for the candidates on index cards, Frye said, adding that Galbraith will serve as moderator.

Next is a forum planned for 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 31 at Bellows Falls Opera House.

The third candidates' forum is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 13 at Windham Meeting House. It is organized by Windham Community Organization.

"We just want to get to know the candidates, and for the candidates to get to know Windham," said Dona Robinson, the organization's president.

Given that a developer is collecting data for a possible wind-turbine site in Windham, wind power is expected to be a hot topic at the meeting, Robinson said. But discussion won't be limited to that issue.

The forum is open to all, and residents from neighboring Grafton are encouraged to attend, Robinson said. White cannot be at the Windham forum but may submit some materials, she added.

The final forum is organized by the Windham Democrats and is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at Brattleboro American Legion Post 5, 32 Linden St.

Mike Faher can be reached at or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.


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