Last night the three candidates in my district, the first Massachusetts met in a debate in Gardner.
I saw several things I haven’t seen before. It was in a small area at Mt. Wachusett Community College (not even the main auditorium).
About 120 people attended to see a debate that was very different that what we’ve seen on TV nationwide.
First of all, there was no name calling
Second of all Congressman Olver DIDN’T run away from Obamacare or the Bailouts, or anything else, it was quite a change to see a democrat be an unapologetic democrat
Thirdly the 3rd party candidate is actually to the left of John Olver (and when the dem is a former professor at UMass Amherst that’s hard to do.)
On the issues Olver defended Obamacare, and the bailouts, he also touted projects he had brought home. On style he appeared every one of his 74 years, with some long pauses in between
Bill Gunn went back over and over to the Constitution and returning control to the states, he attacked Obamacare as a monstrosity and stressed the power of the free market to solve issues
Michael Engel attacked both Obamacare and the free market saying that government needs to partner with business, he suggested democrats were actually in bed with Big insurance and CEOs.
The best part of the exchange, the candidates had dramatically different positions on almost every issue and expressed and defended them. It was some of the most substantive and informative mixed events I’ve seen and was a real service to the district. There was a really clear choice for the voters.
The worst part was the size of the venue, the shortness of the debate (only 1 hour) and that it was not broadcast live so many of the voters in the district likely would not see it. (I’ll fix that today)
On style Engel’s answers were the crispest, Gunn was close behind and Congressman Olver tended to ramble a little, on Substance, take your pick, agree or disagree all gave answers with substance.
This was a solid event, the crowd was well-behaved, the candidates stong in their beliefs and the questions relevant. The district would be well served to see this type of event every other day all over the area.