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Assembly Candidates Night Forums Planned For Districts 39 & 40

New Jersey League of Women Voters prepares for six local forums where voters hear candidate debates and ask questions ahead of elections.
New Jersey League of Women Voters prepares for six local forums where voters hear candidate debates and ask questions ahead of elections. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule

The League of Women’s Voters is hosting candidates night forums to give Legislative District 39 and 40 voters to an opportunity to hear local candidates on the issues.

"It's about the only time and the only way that voters have a chance to see opponents face to face," Bergen County League of Women Voters Vice President Lucy Heller told Daily Voice.

In District 39, which includes Closter, Demarest, Dumont, Emerson, Harrington Park, Haworth, Hillsdale, Mahwah, Montvale, Norwood, Oakland, Old Tappan, Park Ridge, Ramsey, River Vale, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River, Washington, Westwood and Woodcliff Lake in Bergen County; and Bloomingdale, Ringwood and Wanaque in Passaic County, two Assembly seats are up for grabs.

The ballot includes incumbents Republicans Holly Schepisi and Robert Auth and Democratic Challengers Jeffrey Goldsmith and John Derienzo.

The District 39 forum will be held Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Westwood Borough Hall, 101 Washington Ave.

In District 40, which includes Allendale, Franklin Lakes, Ho-Ho-Kus, Midland Park, Ridgewood, Waldwick and Wyckoff in Bergen County; Little Falls, Pompton Lakes, Totowa, Wayne, Woodland Park in Passaic County; and communities in Essex and Morris counties, two assembly seats are up for grabs.

The ballot includes incumbents Republicans David Russo and Scott Rumana and Democratic Challengers Paul Vagianos and Christine Ordway.

The District 40 forum will be held Monday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Ridgewood Village Hall, 131 N. Maple Ave.

Attendees can submit questions to the moderator and candidates will address their own points at the end.

The League of Women Voters, a 95-year-old nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government.

"For the most part, the candidates confirm their availability in advance, but on occasion, we have had to figure things out on the night of the event," Heller explained. "If a candidate gets too personal, that opens the floor for the other candidate to respond.”

The group holds candidates forums as long as both major parties appear and if they are on the ballot. If there is an imbalance in representation, the attending candidates are free to answer questions from the crowd without debate.

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