2017-08-17 / Front Page

Euer is no-show at final forum

Democratic candidate cited conflict of interest

Dawn Euer, the Democratic candidate for the District 13 Senate seat, skipped the final candidate forum in Jamestown citing a conflict of interest on the part of the event’s host, the Taxpayers Association of Jamestown.

Republican Mike Smith and independent candidate Kim Riploi answered questions for about an hour at the library from some of the approximately 50 residents in attendance.

Green Party candidate Gregory Larson also did not show up, but he has failed to attend any public event so far during the entire campaign.

All four candidates are from Newport. They are vying in the Aug. 22 election to replace Teresa Paiva Weed, who vacated her seat in March after 25 years to accept an administrator’s role at a nonprofit hospital agency in Providence.

Euer could not be reached for comment Thursday to elaborate on her reason for eschewing the forum for a fundraiser she said already was on her calendar. She did e-mail Ann Gagnon, the association’s vice president, at 5:19 p.m. — 71 minutes before the forum’s start — with her explanation for bowing out.

“Thank you for this invitation,” she wrote Wednesday in reply to the July 29 e-mail Gagnon sent to the four candidates asking them to attend the forum. “Although I had a previous commitment, I was going to try to attend this forum. However, it was just brought to my attention that a member of your organization's leadership is serving as the campaign manager for another candidate. Given that new information, I'm not comfortable attending this event.”

That e-mail came about 30 minutes after Euer called Tim Riel, editor of The Jamestown Press, asking if the paper planned on covering the forum. Riel informed her the paper would not be writing a story for the Aug. 17 edition because of the event being after the paper’s deadline.

Neither Blake Dickinson nor Jerry Scott, who work on Smith and Riploi’s Jamestown campaigns, respectively, are members of the association’s board, though both are past presidents. Scott no longer is a member of the group, Gagnon said.

“She missed out on a positive experience,” Gagnon said. “I just don’t understand why she waited until the last minute.”

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