Town debates set for tonight at Suffolk Theater

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Suffolk Theater on East Main Street will be the site for another round of political debates Oct. 24.
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Suffolk Theater on East Main Street will be the site for another round of political debates Oct. 24.

The Riverhead News-Review and media outlets are getting set to host their second night of town political debates Thursday at the Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead.

The debates start at 7 p.m. and run until about 9 p.m. The theater’s doors open at 5 p.m. and the bar and restaurant will be open at that time, but shut down during the debates.

There will be two separate debates Thursday, with the first featuring incumbent Republican Town council Candidates John Dunleavy and Jodi Giglio against Democratic council challengers Bill Bianchi and Millie Thomas. That will be followed by incumbent Republican Supervisor Sean Walter facing off against Democratic challenger Angela DeVito.

There are three Town Board positions up for grabs in the at-large election Nov. 5, the supervisor seat and two council seats.

The debates will be co-moderated by Riverheadlocal editor and publisher Denise Civiletti and News-Review editor Michael White.

The first political debate event was held Aug. 26 and featured Republican, Democratic and Independence primary candidates for town council and town supervisor. More than 200 people crowded the Suffolk Theater for that event.

“After the success of primary debate, we’re now even more excited to co-host this event featuring the six general election candidates,” said Times/Review Newsgroup executive editor Grant Parpan. “The professional staff at the Suffolk Theater did a great job in setting the stage and I know a lot of people in town are looking forward to this next round of debates, as are we.”

“These debates give the public the opportunity to learn where the candidates stand on important local issues,” Ms. Civiletti said. “We’re happy to partner again with the News-Review to sponsor the debates. An informed electorate is at the very heart of the democratic process.”

All questions for the debates will be written in advance by the two moderators and the candidates will be given time to make closing statements. There will be no questions from the floor. No outside video recording of the event is allowed.

There is a suggested $5 donation at the door, with all proceeds going to support the nonprofit New Beginnings’ effort to build the Brendan House facility on Sound Avenue, which will provide 24-hour care for young adults with brain injuries.

The first debate event raised $1,045 for Brendan House.