Erickson and DeMarco Refuse Candidate Forum Invitation

By Kevin E. Foley

Lee G. Erickson, the Republican candidate for Philipstown Town Supervisor and Katie Giachinta DeMarco, a Republican candidate for Town Councilor, have to date, refused to participate in the upcoming candidate forum sponsored by Philipstown.info at Haldane on Oct. 3. Three weeks after receiving an invitation from publisher Gordon Stewart, the two candidates replied in a response addressed to Philipstown.info:

On behalf of the conservative, independent and republican endorsed candidates we would like to thank you for the invitation to your candidate’s forum. However, we regret we will not be participating.

Erickson and DeMarco’s intent in jointly responding and claiming to represent their party affiliations in the note is not clear. Town Board Member, Barbara Scuccimarra, also an endorsed Republican, Conservative, Independent, running for re-election, will participate in the forum. “People best define themselves by the actions they take. We are what we do. If folks running for office won’t sit with fellow candidates and offer their ideas

In addition to Scuccimarra, incumbents Town Supervisor Richard Shea and Town Councilor Nancy Montgomery, as well as candidate for Town Councilor, David Merandy; all Democrats, have accepted the invitation to participate. The forum will go on with or without Erickson and DeMarco, although places will be held for them, according to Stewart. Stewart said: “The continued unwillingness of candidates Erickson and Demarco to appear in an open public forum at Haldane is especially baffling now that they and the public can see the questions in advance on Philipstown.info. I sincerely hope that Lee and Katie will define themselves as having the courage to overcome whatever concerns they may have and stand up to whatever pressures they may be getting by showing up on Monday, not by running away. All will be treated fairly and given equal time. If candidates feel slighted all they’ll have to do is raise their hands and speak up.”

The forum will be held in the music room of the Haldane Middle School starting at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on the internet at highlandscurrent.com. A videotape of the forum will also be available on the website until Election Day. Refreshments will be served.

In a previous article announcing the forum, the questions Stewart plans to ask were posted to solicit public input, as well as allow the candidates time to prepare their answers. Here they are again:

  • What do you believe are the most serious challenges we face as a town in the next two years, and how do you propose we meet them?
  • What are our most important long-term issues, and what must we do to about them?
  • Why are you running for office, and why do you believe you should be elected?
  • What are two or three specific goals you have set for yourself to if you are elected?
  • What do you support and what do you oppose that that the Town Board has done over the last few years?
  • What question would you most like me to ask your opponent(s)?
  • What question would you most like me to ask you?
  • What do you respect and admire about your opponent(s)?

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