PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Debates for state representative are scheduled tonight, Monday, at Berkshire Community College but the two incumbents have indicated they won't be there.
The debates, sponsored by The Pittsfield Gazette and Pittsfield Community Television, are set to start at 6 with candidates for the 4th Berkshire District and at 7 with candidates for the 3rd Berkshire District.
The debate scheduled for 6 p.m. between incumbent William "Smitty" Pignatelli of Lenox and Green/Rainbow Party candidate Scott Lee Laugenour of Lenox may turn into a one-sided conversation. Pignatelli, who had accepted the debate invitation, informed the Gazette that he confused the date.
The debate may be moved to next week but Laugenour is expected to go on alone tonight. Laugenour, in an e-mail to supporters, said he has also accepted to debate Pignatelli next Monday.
Third District incumbent Christopher N. Speranzo of Pittsfield reportedly informed PCTV by e-mail on Friday that he was "respectfully" declining to attend tonight's debate. The three-term Democrat has been keeping a low profile, especially after it was revealed he was interviewing for the lifetime position of clerk-magistrate of Central Berkshire District Court. He did attend a Democrat kickoff rally in Pittsfield earlier this month, but stayed in the background.
Gazette Editor Jonathan Levine said the 7 p.m. debate will instead be a "conversation" with Speranzo's challenger Mark C. Miller of Pittsfield. Miller, a longtime journalist and former editor of The Berkshire Eagle, is running as the Green/Rainbow candidate.
The debates, such as they are, will be held in BCC's K-111 room and moderated (or interviewed) by David Cachat, coordinator of PCTV's CityLink; seating is first-come, first-served. The event will be telecast on PCTV and live-streamed at www.pittsfieldtv.org.
A second set of debates hosted by BCC and sponsored by the Gazette and PCTV is planned for Monday, Oct. 25, between candidates for the 2nd Berkshire District (Democrat Paul Mark, Republican Michael Case and independent Stefan Racz) and state auditor, including Great Barrington resident and Democrat Suzanne Bump, Republican Mary Connaughton of Framingham and Green/Rainbow candidate Nat Fortune of Whately.
Any updates on tonight's debates will be posted here.