Incumbent opts out of state rep forum

The absence of the incumbent proved the story Oct. 21 at a forum for candidates for the state representative's seat from the 67th District.

Republican state Rep. Cecilia Buck-Taylor was conspicuously missing that evening at New Milford Public Library.

Organized by Democratic challenger Gale Alexander, the forum set out to provide views on issues facing New Milford.

On hand to speak before a lean turnout were Alexander and Green Party candidate Cynthia Day.

Buck-Taylor said that day Alexander's campaign had failed to meet what she termed "agreed upon terms" regarding the forum, which resulted in her declining to participate.

"I haven't heard from Mr. Alexander's campaign since (Oct. 17)," Buck-Taylor said. "At that time, Ms. Day had not yet agreed to participate, no notice of the event had run in The Spectrum or The News-Times, and an experienced moderator had not been found."

Buck-Taylor said Alexander's campaign showed "sloppy planning" by not pulling things together before Monday night or contacting her directly to that effect. She believed that given the lack of advertising, "only partisans, and not the general public would benefit" from the event.

Her rivals weren't pleased she decided not to participate.

"I'm disappointed that Ms. Buck-Taylor didn't feel there was any significance in presenting her position on issues," Alexander said, "or that the public had a right to hear from her."

Day similarly was disappointed.

"I don't know what she thought was going to happen here that kept her away," Day said. "She could have made the effort. This is important and having her here would have furthered my understanding of the issues in this race."

The moderator, Stephen Warshaw of Warren, was booked the day before the forum.

Day had agreed a day earlier to participate.

On the issues, Alexander and Day agreed John Pettibone School should not be closed in Jujne 2015, that traffic congestion in New Milford had to be addressed, and the role of government is to support the members of its community.

On gun control, Alexander said he would have voted for Connecticut's recently passes state gun legislation while Day said she would have voted against it, as Buck-Taylor did, on Second Amendment grounds.

Among the key issues for Alexander are municipal tax reform, the environment and education.

Day's platform includes managing New Milford's growth, keeping small businesses in town and addressing the drug problem.

stuz@newstimes.com; 203-731-3352