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The new Elect North Central Coalition will host a debate for the candidates vying to represent the 3rd Congressional District at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 on the Fitchburg State University campus.

Democratic candidate Lori Trahan, Republican candidate Rick Green and Independent candidate Mike Mullen have been invited to debate at Fitchburg State’s Kent Recital Hall in the Conlon Fine Arts Building, 367 North St. Admission is free and open to the public.

Elect North Central is a coalition of organizations dedicated to making the democratic process accessible and assuring that local and regional issues are examined and addressed by candidates running for office.

“The members of Elect North Central represent a broad cross-section of leaders in media, education, community, and business organizations, and was formed to provide residents an opportunity to hear the candidates on issues affecting them and the region,” said North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce President Roy Nascimento, the chair of Elect North Central. “The coalition members plan to continue collaborating on projects that will engage candidates and voters, and provide a platform for the voices of our region to be heard.”

Charles St. Amand, practitioner in residence in the Communication and Journalism Department at Suffolk University, will moderate the debate.

Panelists will include:

–        Cassparina Carlson, student representative, Mount Wachusett Community College

–         Sherman Whitman, radio host, WPKZ 105.3 FM and AM 1280

–         Gary Hutner, general manager, Gardner News and Clinton Item

–         Cliff Clark, city editor, Sentinel & Enterprise

–         Irene Hernandez, president, Minority Coalition of North Central Massachusetts

The organizers will also solicit questions from the public in advance for possible inclusion in the debate.

The Elect North Central Coalition includes Fitchburg Access Television, Fitchburg State University, Gardner News, The Item, Leominster Champion, Lowell Sun, Minority Coalition, Mount Wachusett Community College, NewVue Communities, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Sentinel & Enterprise, Spanish American Center, Suffolk University, Telegram & Gazette, Three Pyramids, United Hmong of Massachusetts, Worcester Business Journal and WPKZ Radio.

The 3rd Congressional District includes Acton, Andover (precincts 2-7, 9), Ashburnham, Ashby, Ayer, Berlin, Bolton, Boxboro, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Clinton, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Fitchburg, Gardner, Groton, Harvard, Haverhill, Hudson, Lancaster, Lawrence, Littleton, Lowell, Lunenburg, Marlboro, Maynard, Methuen Town, Pepperell, Shirley, Stow, Sudbury (precinct 1), Townsend, Tyngsboro, Westford, Westminster and Winchendon (precincts 1A, 2, 3).