Let’s Debate:District 1 Candidates Will Participate in Neighborhood Debates

By Seth Daniel

Both District 1 candidates have agreed to participate in at least one debate/forum in each of the three neighborhoods leading up to the Nov. 7 election.

Meanwhile, scheduling debates for the mayoral race seems to have gotten a little easier as well, with Mayor Martin Walsh’s camp indicating late last week they would participate in a series of debates this fall with challenger Councilor Tito Jackson.

In District 1, the news comes right on the heels of a nip-and-tuck finish in the Preliminary Election last Tuesday, Sept. 26, where Candidate Stephen Passacantilli won the district by 77 votes, though Candidate Lydia Edwards showed strength in winning Charlestown and East Boston. It sets up for a tremendously competitive race to the finish with two very seasoned and professional candidates.

Right off the bat last week, Edwards challenged Passacantilli to one debate in each of the three neighborhoods:  Charlestown, the North End and East Boston.

She echoed that call on Monday in a statement to the newspaper.

“I am thrilled with the response of voters,” said Edwards. “Our communities are at a pivotal moment. My opponent and I have different perspectives on how to move the city forward and a substantive discussion on the issues facing this district is necessary. I look forward to highlighting those distinctions and therefore I challenge my opponent to debates in all three neighborhoods.”

Passacantilli answered that call quickly, noting that he had planned to have debates this fall and would have it no other way. He said he was excited to bring his positions to the voters in an open forum.

“I’m excited to participate in the four forums and debates scheduled throughout each neighborhood in District 1,” he said. “I look forward to continue hearing directly from residents and discussing our vision for Boston and each of our communities.”

Both candidates participated in numerous forums with Candidate Margaret Farmer – who was eliminated from the race last week – prior to the Preliminary, so many voters have had a chance to hear their message directly already. Expanded debates and forums will give an opportunity for the front-runners to share the stage one-on-one.

Meanwhile, in the mayoral race, scheduling a debate prior to last Tuesday’s election proved tricky and ended up not happening.

However, late last week the Walsh campaign said it would accept invitations to two debates leading up to the Nov. 7 City Election. Walsh said he would participate in a debate on Oct. 10 hosted by Dan Rea of WBZ Radio and another debate on Oct. 24 hosted by Jim Braude and Margery Eagan.

“I’ve accepted invitations to two debates in the general election, and over the next six weeks, I look forward to speaking with as many voters as possible and debating real ideas of how to continue moving our city forward, and building a Boston for all of us,” said the mayor. “We’ve got more work to do, but we are on track to ensure everyone has a chance to succeed no matter where they live or come from.”

The Jackson campaign did not return an e-mail asking if they intended to participate in the debates on Oct. 10 and 24, but Councilor Jackson has said several times that he would debate Walsh anytime, anywhere. Most have taken that to mean he has accepted the invitation.

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