31-Year Incumbent Mayor Dodges Debating His Opponents, Ignores Invitation to Candidate Forum

Independent candidate Charlie Kratovil is ready to debate the issues, but the longtime Mayor is refusing to participate in an upcoming candidate forum

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New Brunswick’s Mayor will not be participating in an upcoming candidate forum, after ignoring repeated outreach from local chapters of the League of Women Voters and the NAACP.

Fortunately, the two well-known and widely respected organizations are still moving ahead with their plans to co-host the Mayoral candidate forum at 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 9.  The event will be held virtually, and a recording will be shared on the internet beginning October 10.

The only independent candidate in the race, Charlie Kratovil, will participate along with the Republican candidate, Maria Powell.  Through a spokesperson, eight-term incumbent Mayor Jim Cahill told the Home News Tribune that he will not participate.

With just five weeks to go until Election Day, and mail-in ballots arriving in mailboxes this week, it’s essential that voters get a better understanding of who is running and what they stand for.

“Forums and debates are an excellent opportunity for the candidates to express their ideas and answer tough questions about the issues facing the city, like the out of control violent crime and the rising cost of housing,” said Kratovil.  “By refusing to participate in this public forum, the Mayor is disrespecting the voters of New Brunswick and the organizations that are hosting it.”

The incumbent Mayor has been in office since 1991, and works part-time.  He has not participated in a debate since the 2010 primary election – more than 12 years ago. He also hasn’t given a “State of the City” address since 2019, violating New Jersey’s Faulkner Act, and hasn’t attended a City Council meeting in over a decade.

Kratovil, a New Brunswick journalist and community organizer, has actively participated in over 200 City Council meetings during the same period. He says he is ready and appreciative of the co-sponsors invitation to the forum, and hopes that it won’t be the only opportunity for the voters to hear from the candidates and ask them questions.

“I encourage other organizations to schedule additional public forums.  I promise to participate, unlike the out-of-touch incumbent.  I will always be happy to debate the issues facing our city at any time, in any place, because the people of New Brunswick deserve a Mayor who will be accessible and responsive, and serve the people of our city full-time,” said Kratovil.