Voters will have what promises to be a great opportunity to hear from—and perhaps even talk to— two of the candidates for the 1st Congressional District seat this week.
New England Public Radio has scheduled hour-long live interviews with two of the men vying for the Democratic nomination on Sept. 6: Andrea Nuciforo, a former state senator and now a Berkshire County register of deeds, appears today; Bill Shein, a writer and activist also from the Berkshires, tomorrow. Both interviews will air at 4 p.m. on WFCR (88.5 FM). They’ll be replayed at 6 p.m. on AM640 and 91.7 FM.
The candidates will talk with host Susan Kaplan and take calls from listeners. (The toll-free number: 877-522-8850.)
Conspicuously absent from the line-up: U.S. Rep. Richie Neal, the incumbent in the race. I’ve asked NEPR’s communications director if Neal was invited to participate, too, but have yet to receive a response.
The other two candidates, at least, seem eager to get the word out about their positions and platforms. Last week, Nuciforo issued a public invitation to Neal to attend a series of debates around the district. (He didn’t invite Shein, per se, although his communications director later told me that all candidates on the primary ballot would be “welcome to participate.”)
Shein, meanwhile, has sent out his own press release noting that he plans to participate in six debates in the coming weeks, all scheduled by local media outlets. “Restoring a robust, healthy democracy that ensures the people’s priorities set the agenda in Washington requires substantive, independent, in-depth press coverage,” he said.
Shein also reiterated one of his campaign’s top issues: the corrupting influence of money on our government: “I strongly believe that ideas, and candidates, should sink or swim on the merits, not on how much money is behind them. For decades, public policy in the United States has been undermined and distorted by billions of dollars in campaign contributions and lobbying by status-quo corporate and wealthy interests. Today, that money drowns out the voices and ideas we need more than ever, and puts an extra burden on the media to properly inform the public about candidates and issues.”
He added that he hopes both his competitors will join him at the debates, noting, pointedly, that they are “conveniently scheduled during Congress’ month-long summer recess”—in other words, there’s no excuse for Neal to take a pass.