39th House District candidates to face off in two debates

New London — Candidates seeking to fill the vacant 39th state House District seat will have two opportunities to debate in advance of a Feb. 26 special election.

The Day will join with the League of Women Voters of Southeast Connecticut to host a debate on Feb. 20 in the auditorium of the New London Science & Technical High School. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The debate begins at 6:15 p.m. and is scheduled to conclude about 7:30 p.m. No campaign items or clothing will be allowed inside the auditorium.

Moderating the debate for the League of Women Voters will be Joanne Moore, while Day Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere will question the candidates. The event is free and open to the public. If you want to suggest questions for the debate, email Paul Choiniere at p.choiniere@theday.com.

Additionally, the Neighborhood Alliance of New London is holding a "Meet the Candidates" forum at 6 p.m. on Feb. 22 at the New London Senior Center. The forum will be moderated by local attorney Gordon Videl and questions will begin at 6:30 p.m. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to submit questions.

The 39th District is contained entirely within New London and there are four candidates for the seat, which was vacated when former state Rep. Chris Soto left the position to join the administration of Gov. Ned Lamont as director legislative affairs. The candidates are two Board of Education members — Jason Catala, who petitioned his way onto the ballot, and Mirna Martinez, nominated by the Green Party — as well as Republican Kat Goulart and Democrat Anthony Nolan, a city councilor.

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