MANCHESTER, NH October 10, 2019— Mayor Joyce Craig won’t be talking with the Concerned Taxpayers of Manchester this election season. CTM Chairman Jim Gaudet said that Craig had both rejected dates suggested by the group and failed to respond to an open-ended invitation in which CTM offered to let her choose the date. Gaudet said mayoral challenger Victoria Sullivan had agreed to clear her schedule for any date chosen by Mayor Craig.
Gaudet reported that the taxpayer group sent several emails to Craig’s office and campaign operation in September. In an email on September 11th, CTM suggested the debate take place on October 23rd. Craig’s campaign declined to participate in a email sent almost two weeks later on September 23rd, blaming a scheduling conflict. CTM responded with an email asking the mayor to participate on October 30th. That date was also rejected with Craig’s campaign manager saying that the four debates or forums that Craig had committed to during that week would provide voters with “plenty of opportunity to hear from candidates as we approach the election.”
In response, Gaudet issued an open ended invitation that gave Craig the ability to choose any date between October 15th and November 1st, writing:
“CTM’s Board feels strongly that the two mayoral candidates debate and discuss taxpayer questions and concerns regarding the city’s current tax cap, the charter commission race to study potential changes to the city charter and taxing authority, and other impactful topics.”
According to Gaudet, Craig has yet to respond to that invitation, which was sent on September 27th.
Gaudet issued a statement questioning whether or not Craig was willing to talk to taxpayers.
“We are both disappointed and concerned that Mayor Craig can’t seem to find a way to debate the issues of taxing and spending our group holds dear. We believe she owes the taxpayers of Manchester clarity on some very big issues that are front and center. It seems to us she’s not interested in addressing the financial issues about which we are concerned.”
In communications with the Craig campaign, Gaudet urged a timely response so that arrangements could be made to have a reporter moderate the debate. Union Leader Paul Feely was committed to the October 30th date before Craig’s camp declined that invitation. Gaudet said they wanted to enlist the services of a knowledgeable, but objective third party to ensure fair questioning of both candidates. He said that if Craig committed to any dates within the time frame provided, they would work to secure an unbiased third-party moderator. “Time is growing short, however,” he said. “We hope that by making our efforts to stage this debate public, it will encourage the mayor to appear.”
Publisher’s Note: We apologize to the Concerned Taxpayers of Manchester for not publishing this news release sooner. We received it about two weeks ago and are only now seeing it. ~Publius