WCAT to Host Debates for State Senate Special Elections

Moderator Bill Carroll monitors a 2012 debate in WCAT’s Studio A while camera operator Dan Bertini looks on. (Photograph by David Watts, Jr.)
Moderator Bill Carroll monitors a 2012 debate in WCAT’s Studio A while camera operator Dan Bertini looks on. (Photograph by David Watts, Jr.)
WAKEFIELD – Two special elections have been scheduled to fill the Fifth Middlesex District State Senate seat previously held by Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D – Fifth Massachusetts District), who was elected on December 10, 2013 to Senator Ed Markey’s former congressional seat. Producer David Watts, Jr. has announced that Wakefield Community Access Television (WCAT) will be hosting candidates’ debates on February 5th, in advance of the March 4th special primary election, and a second debate on March 6th, in advance of the April 1st special general election. Each debate will be carried live on WCAT’s government channel and provided via DVD to the community access stations in the other communities in the district for re-cablecast. Both debate programs will be held in WCAT’s 24 Hemlock Road facility at the rear of Wakefield High School. Any certified candidate, who’s name is listed on the ballot, is eligible to participate in the debate. The Fifth Middlesex District encompasses Malden, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, and Precincts 1, 2, 3, and 8 in Winchester.

“WCAT is continuing our commitment to providing informative debates at not just the local level, but the state legislative level as well,” said Watts, “We are looking forward to a lively exchange that helps voters decide who the best candidate may be before the primary and general elections.”

The debates will be moderated once again by Wakefield Town Moderator, and WCAT Board of Directors member, Bill Carroll. Although details still have to be worked out, a press representative from one local news outlet in each community in the district will be invited to pose questions to the candidates on a range of subjects important to local voters. Each debate will run for ninety minutes to give ample time for the press panel to question the candidates.

The February 5th primary election debates will feature the Democratic candidates debating each other, followed by a second debate on the same evening for the Republican candidates, if there is more than one candidate on the ballot in each case. The March 6th debate will feature the final slate of candidates from the March 4th special primary election.

“We are inviting the public from the communities in the district to join us at WCAT for the debates,” said Watts, “We will have viewing areas in the station’s front lobby and conference room carrying the live cablecast.”

Candidates for the State Senate seat who have already filed their papers may request an advance copy of the debate format and rules by sending an email message to david.watts@wcat.tv.


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