The directors of the two campaigns for South Orange Village President are planning to meet to set dates for as many as three debates in the run-up to the May 14 election.
After the “Sheena Collum For Village President” campaign sent an open memorandum to the media (see full memo below) on Wednesday, April 17, Rachel Ford, director of the SO Forward campaign, responded that she would meet to discuss debates between VP candidates Sheena Collum and Deborah Davis Ford.
David Ford also stated that she was happy to debate Collum in an interview with Village Green on Monday, April 15.
The memo from Celina Herrero, director of the Sheena Collum campaign, read in part, “With the election less than four weeks away, we’d like to see at least three (3) stand-alone debates between the Village President candidates be organized and completed in addition to the Candidate Forums being hosted for everyone. We would be happy to work with you, the press, community groups, SOMATV, and any interested parties to accomplish the goal of adding at least two more to the calendar. These are great ways we can let the community know about our candidates and I’m happy to work collaboratively with you, your team, and your candidate to create these opportunities.”
Herrero noted that, in light of a mailer from the SO Forward campaign focusing on the consolidation of the Maplewood and South Orange fire departments, the Sheena Collum campaign requested that one of the debates focus solely on that topic.
At least one candidates forum — for VP candidates and Board of Trustees candidates and hosted by the Academy Heights Neighborhood Association — is planned for April 24. However, Herrero stressed that Collum is interested in debate formats, rather than forums.
“From what I understand, forums are not stand alone VP debates,” wrote Herrero in response to a question from Village Green. “The forums are for all of the candidates running for office and are not debate format. And yes, Sheena will be at the Academy Heights forum.”
Herrero continued, “Our campaign currently does not know of any stand alone debates which are confirmed by both parties.”
Last night, SO Forward campaign director Rachel Ford responded to Herrero (and copied Village Green and other media), “I think it would be best for you and I to meet in person to discuss this further. Let me know some dates when you’re available to grab some coffee. ”