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Bethlehem primary debate to be held Sept. 3

The Spotlight and The League of Women Voters will host a primary debate between incumbent Town of Bethlehem Supervisor Jack Cunningham and challenger Town Councilman Sam Messina on Thursday, Sept. 3, at Bethlehem Town Hall.

This is the result of a lot of hard work and a wonderful partnership between The Spotlight, The League of Women Voters and the community, said Bill DeVoe, managing editor of The Spotlight.

"Public debate is the most unfiltered medium for politics. I'm sure this event will benefit the people of Bethlehem in this upcoming primary election."

Both candidates said they're excited to have the opportunity to address each other publicly.

"I look forward to the upcoming debate as it is an opportunity to discuss our record of accomplishment and the challenges that lie ahead for us as a community. During my first term as supervisor, we have advanced our economic development initiatives such as the Vista Technology Park and the Selkirk Yard Industrial Zone. We have also worked to implement our Comprehensive Plan, and we have begun to address the issues of aging infrastructure. We have increased citizen participation and delivered on all commitments to improve our sidewalk and bicycle network," said Cunningham. "I hope to advance these initiatives in my second term while managing the challenges that our economic downturn has created for us. I have been working with community leaders as well as representatives at the federal, state, and local levels to find innovative approaches to these challenges. I hope to continue this work in my second term."

"I think a debate is one of the best ways for voters, residents and business people to see what the candidates are all about. I'm excited about doing it," said Messina. "For me, it's a forum where I can connect with people, and that's what government is all about. It's my intention to deal very directly and completely with the issues. And those issues aren't just about policy, they're about people and how we govern."

The debate is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions for the candidates.

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