Lauretti declines invitation to participate in mayoral debate

 Mayor Mark Lauretti said he will not be participating in or attending the debate taking place at the Shelton Intermediate School on Monday, Oct. 19 for this year’s mayoral candidates.

“What is there to debate? I have a record and people know what I’m about,” said Lauretti.

He went on to justify his decision choosing to not participate in the debate by mentioning his counterpart’s lack of experience in this type of leadership position.

“They don’t have a record. It’s easy for them to criticize because that’s what opponents do. I’ve been subjective to name calling, political innuendos, and lies but I’m not interested in it anymore. My campaign takes place every single day, it’s doing my job,” said Lauretti. “These two people are newcomers to the equation, they’ve never offered anything to the city, and all of the sudden they want the top job? Where are their credentials? Their resume?”

Bristol and Bialek both said they believe Lauretti has a duty to participate in events such as the upcoming debate; not just to them as his opponents, but more importantly to the people of Shelton. Bialek went on to say that one of her curiosities and reasons for wanting to have Lauretti participate in the debate was to hear if he had any adaptations to his “vision” being that he has been in office over 20 years.

The mayor went on to say that people are free to form opinions about him, but they cannot argue with the positive results he has produced for the city.

“In my 24 years I have never asked for a debate. People can interpret what they want to interpret and say what they want to say, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true. Debates don’t do anything for you, they are very unproductive,” said Lauretti. “They don’t understand the process or the arena they are in. If they are interested in exploring a vision then they should get involved in something. Run for an elected office in some form or another and become part of the process, understand how it all works. Understand a little bit about government.”

Bristol said in a past interview that one of his goals is to help create more transparency between the people and the city’s government through events like this. Lauretti disagreed with the suggestion that debates help create transparency.

“Transparency doesn’t happen through this. Transparency is everyday,” said Lauretti. “They just don’t understand and that’s understandable because they have never been involved before. They’re the ones who need to offer their vision, not me. I’ve spoke before every group that there is and I am still willing to do that. I’m willing to go and talk to them and answer their questions, but I am not debating with anyone, especially people with no record.”

The debate which will begin at 7 p.m. is sponsored by the Shelton Voters Network and Shelton High School Junior State of America. The JSA is a student-run, non-partisan organization that focuses on current issues.

There will be a meet and greet in the lobby at 6 p.m.

Those attending will be allowed to suggest questions by writing them on an index card. The League of Women Voters of the Bridgeport Area is moderating the event and the Intermediate School is located at 675 Constitution Boulevard North.