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Election Connection

October 21, 2012

Senate hopefuls face off in final debate

Four candidates for 1st Essex seat take stage at NECC

HAVERHILL — Voters will get their last chance tomorrow to see and hear the four candidates vying for the 1st Essex Senate District go head-to-head on the issues.

The final debate before the Nov. 6 election for those candidates is at 7 p.m. at Northern Essex Community College’s Technology Center, 100 Elliot St. Doors open at 6 p.m. for guests who want to offer questions for the candidates. Two of those questions will be randomly chosen.

Kathleen O’Connor Ives is the Democratic nominee, Shaun Toohey is the Republican candidate, and James Kelcourse and Paul Magliocchetti are running as Independents.

The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the debate, which will be moderated by Sal Lupoli, owner of the Riverwalk complex in Lawrence and chairman of the business group’s board of directors.

“I don’t want to tip off the questions, but its’s safe to say the emphasis will be on learning what the candidates think are the best ideas and policies to make things better for homeowners and businesses in the Merrimack Valley,” debate organizer and longtime chamber President Joseph Bevilacqua said. “As the last debate, this is a great opportunity for voters to learn about the candidates and the issues before they go into the voting booth in two weeks.”

Previous debates for the seat have been held in Haverhill, Methuen and Newburyport. Tjhose events have focused on tax policy and economic issues, but also touched on a wide variety of other topics of local and statewide interest.

In Methuen earlier this month, Toohey and Kelcourse promised they would never agree to raise taxes. Magliocchetti said he would consider new taxes only after thoroughly scrutinizing the state budget for spending cuts and seeing state agencies reformed and consolidated to “bare-bones” levels. O’Connor Ives said it would be irresponsible for her to dismiss any proposal without first seeing and studying it.

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