A large crowd came out on Friday, February 23, despite the cold and rainy weather to hear five out of six Democratic congressional candidates discuss issues on ten topics. Candidates Jeff Beals, Dave Clegg, Antonio Delgado, Brian Flynn, and Gareth Rhodes took part, and local resident Jill Norgren - professor, a retired CUNY Political Science and author, was moderator. Candidate Pat Ryan was absent.
The room was filled with more than 150 attendees thanks to the combined efforts of four regional town Democratic Committees who produced the event. They included Pawling, Beekman, Union Vale, and La Grange, along with the Dutchess County Young Democrats and NY19Votes.
Beekman resident Paul Curran introduced the event onstage. “In planning the event, we worried about the scheduled length – it can be tough to keep a large audience engaged for two solid hours,” he said. “But from my vantage point on the stage, it was remarkable to see the full room fully engaged in the discussion. If anything, the forum could have been longer. Interest in this year’s elections among Democrats and Independents is clearly very high.”
There were many comments about the excellent facilities in Pawling. Chairwoman of the Beekman Democratic Committee Murray Johnson said, “The NY19 Candidates Debate in Pawling was awesome. The Lakeside Facility was large enough to handle a crowd and had other spaces for candidates’ tables and refreshments.”
This event precedes the start of petitioning in March to collect signatures to earn a place on the ballot for the Democratic Primary scheduled on June 26. That winner will run on the Democratic line against Republican incumbent John Faso in the 19th Congressional District in November 2018. The full debate can be seen on the Town of Pawling Democratic Committee Facebook page or by searching “NY19 Primary Candidates Debate” on YouTube.