by Andrew Martin
CAMBRIDGE – Five candidates running for the Vermont Legislature gathered in Cambridge on the morning of Friday, October 19, to participate in a political debate. The event was held at Three Mountain Lodge on Route 108 beginning at 7:30 a.m. and featured incumbent Lamoille County Senator Rich Westman (R) and challenger Jerry Colby (D), as well as Cambridge and Waterville House of Representative candidates Peter Ingvoldstad (D), Bernie Juskiewicz (R) and Justin Marsh (I).
The debate, which was organized by the Cambridge Artists and Entrepreneurs, was moderated by Smugglers’ Notch Resort President Bob Mulcahy and presented the dozens of local voters in attendance with the chance to address their own questions to each of the candidates.
Breakfast was offered at the event beginning at 7:30 a.m. before the actual debate kicked off at 8 with a question from Mulcahy on the topic of how best to reduce the cost of running Vermont’s schools while improving on the test results for students. Each candidate was then given two minutes to respond.
Following the answers to Mulcahy’s question, the candidates then received questions from the audience on a variety of topics. One of the major areas of concern was how each candidate would work to bring more businesses and jobs to Vermont and Lamoille County. Other questions centered on topics such as green and nuclear energy, healthcare, and Vermont’s current land use tax program. Follow-up questions regarding how better to decrease school spending and how to better prepare Vermont’s children for their futures were also often raised.
The debate ended with closing comments from all five candidates.