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Feb 17, 2010 12:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board special election debates set

Feb 17, 2010 12:14 PM

Southampton Town Board candidates Bill Hughes, a Republican, and Bridget Fleming, a Democrat, will have the chance to sound off on important issues at a series of upcoming debates.

The first, organized by the Hampton Bays Civic Association, will be tonight, Thursday, February 18, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Hampton Bays Senior Center on Ponquogue Avenue. The second, hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons, will be on Wednesday, February 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Southampton Cultural Center on Pond Lane.

Mr. Hughes, a soon-to-be retired lieutenant in the Southampton Town Police Department, and Ms. Fleming, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan, are both vying for the Town Board seated vacated by current Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. The special election for the seat will be held on March 9.

At the Hampton Bays debate, Ms. Fleming and Mr. Hughes will respond to questions directly from the audience. At the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons debate, panelists from The Southampton Press and The Sag Harbor Express will pose questions to the candidates culled from cards submitted by audience members.

“It’s the traditional format,” said Anne Marshall, the voter services chairwoman for the league who will also be moderating the debate.

The debate will be videotaped and broadcast on a later date by SEA-TV, Southampton’s public access channel 22. In addition, the program can be viewed at www.town.southampton.ny.us at the same time the debate is showing on channel 22.

The Flanders, Riverside, and Northampton Community Association will also host a debate at its meeting on Monday, February 22, at 7 p.m. at the David W. Crohan Community Center on Flanders Road, according to Brad Bender, the president of the group.

Mr. Bender said that unlike typical debates, FRNCA’s event will not allow the candidates to have rebuttals. The audience and members of FRNCA’s executive board will ask questions, and each candidate will respond just once to the question and not to each other, Mr. Bender explained.

Jessica DiNapoli

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