CHICOPEE – Despite the fact that Mayor Richard Kos has declined an invitation to debate former Mayor Michael Bissonnette on Oct. 26, the event will still go on.
The event is scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Chicopee Comprehensive High School.
The Bissonnette campaign invited Kos on Oct. 19. Joshua Clark, the co-chair of the Kos campaign sent an email to the members of the press who had been invited to participate in the event an email the same day declining the offer.
According to political consultant Ryan McCollum, who works for Bissonnette, he had not received an answer, but learned about the decision through the email to the reporters.
The Bissonnette campaign has been trying to arrange a debate or forum with Kos in a public location in the city with Kos for weeks. While Kos and Bissonnette have participated in televised meetings, there have been no opportunities so far for the public to attend.
Clark wrote in his email to members of the press who had consented to participate, “The Kos Campaign received the email below from the Bissonnette campaign’s political consultant regarding a proposed debate for Oct. 26. This was the first communication we received about this event. There was no phone call or other direct communication.
“It is our understanding that the consultant issued a media release this evening without having secured the participation of all the media journalists named in the email below, whose names also appear in the media release. We did not receive a copy of the media release … On Oct. 26, as most people in Chicopee know and as some of you have reported, there will be a City Council Finance Committee meeting regarding property values that will include the Chicopee City Assessors. Mayor Kos is committed to being at this meeting. Property values are an important issue – more important than politics.
“The mayor has several other commitments as well that night. Some are part of a long day as mayor and some are personal.
“Mayor Kos will not be participating in the proposed debate. There are other debates already scheduled and Mayor Kos looks forward to continuing to discuss the issues that matter to the people of Chicopee.
“Again, we appreciate your interest and are available to discuss with you at anytime, any issues concerning Chicopee. We regret any inconvenience caused by this action on the part of our opponent without our knowledge.”
Bissonnette wrote on his Facebook page on Oct. 20, “While Richie Kos has previously refused my invitation to debate in public, this election isn’t really about him. It is about you – the folks who live here and have a stake in the future of our city. Chicopee is a lot more than typical City Hall politics, personal attacks, photo ops and press releases. You have questions, ideas or concerns that should be addressed in an open forum. To that end, we have arranged a public debate for next Monday night. I sincerely hope that you can join us. We have not received a response yet from my opponent but we will definitely save him a seat.”