STONINGTON — The public can expect a series of debates this fall between Bob Statchen, Democratic candidate for the 18th District state Senate seat, of Stonington, and Heather Somers, of Groton, the Republican incumbent.
In a statement on Monday, Statchen proposed that six debates be held “across the district so voters can learn about each candidate’s plans and vision for the office.”
In an email on Tuesday, Somers said she welcomed the opportunity.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to debate this fall and the chance to share my record of delivering results for eastern Connecticut and challenging the status quo in Hartford with the hardworking citizens I am so honored to represent,” Somers said.
“Debates will provide an important opportunity to highlight where we stand on the important issues of the district and the differing visions we have for how to best serve the hardworking families of eastern Connecticut,” Somers said.
With an evenly divided state Senate, Statchen said, every race in Connecticut is important.
“The people of the 18th District should hear directly from the candidates their positions on important issues as well as their specific proposals to help Connecticut and the region out of its current fiscal crisis,” he said.
Statchen said his campaign has focused on addressing the state’s “historical unfunded liabilities,” such as state employee pensions and other post-employment benefits, which account for a significant portion of the annual budget.
“Even the most admirable, progressive public policy cannot succeed in Connecticut until we directly address the unfunded liabilities,” he said. “Solutions must involve both spending and revenue analysis as we look to create strong infrastructure, equal access to education, and a healthy environment. I look forward to discussing these issues with my opponent over the next several months.”
He also suggested working with the media, civic organizations and schools across the region to find venues and volunteers to host and moderate the debates.
“I’ve spoken with student organizations in the region and they are enthusiastic about participating,” Statchen said. “I think a crucial part of our democratic process should be including the next generation in the discussion.”
The candidates’ debate schedule has not yet been released.