SouthCoast Alliance to host U.S. Senate Democratic Primary Forum Dec. 5 at UMD

Staff reports

Just three days prior to the special primary election to fill the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat, the SouthCoast Alliance will present a U.S. Senate Democratic primary forum on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. at the Main Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, Attorney General Martha Coakley, City Year co-founder Alan Khazei, and Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca have all indicated that they will participate in the forum. The forum will include the opportunity for each candidate to discuss the economy, education, health care and the environment. In 2006, the Alliance sponsored the final forum of the gubernatorial campaign.

The Alliance includes the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, The Herald News, the Standard Times of New Bedford, Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, Women’s Fund, Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s important that we were able to attract the candidates to the SouthCoast to listen to our concerns and focus upon our region,” said Lisa Strattan, editor-in-chief of The Herald News. “And, how great is it that we are able to host the final forum prior to the election. I hope it helps to ensure that we’ll get the attention our region deserves.”

The Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts was launched in 1995 by a group of volunteers to create a new avenue for encouraging philanthropy in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Craig Dutra, president of the foundation, said, “It’s important for SouthCoast residents to see firsthand the candidates running for this very important seat.”

With less than two weeks until the primary, he added, “A significant number of the electorate have not made up their minds as to who they want to vote for.”

He said it took several organizations, working along with New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang, to successfully have the candidates committed to participating in the forum.      

The Community Foundation’s mission is to improve and protect the quality of life in the region by promoting collaboration and understanding among all members of the community; providing a flexible permanent vehicle for donors with diverse interests; protecting the community’s endowment through prudent investment and effective stewardship; expanding the community’s endowment through appropriate solicitation; and ascertaining community needs and opportunities and acting as an informed grantmaker.

UMass Dartmouth spokesman John Hoey said, “A lot of civic community organizations and media organizations have come together — as they did a few years ago when the Alliance sponsored the final forum of the gubernatorial campaign — to bring the U.S. Senate candidates down so citizens can hear what they have to say just three days before the Democratic primary.”

He stressed the importance of the forum bringing a “focus on the needs and aspirations of the SouthCoast region. I think that’s why the forum was organized.”

The Alliance is also planning to hold a second forum featuring the Democratic and Republican nominees prior to the Jan. 19 special final election.

Details about admission, parking, media access, etc. will be announced this week and posted at and

The Herald News