Rotary Club expands forum for District 12 hopefuls

NASHUA – The Rotary Club of Nashua West is expanding its speakers forum to give both candidates for the Senate District 12 seat the opportunity to meet with and field questions from club members.

Democrat David Gottesman, a Nashua attorney, and Hollis Rep. Harry Haytayan, a Republican, are scheduled to highlight their campaign priorities to the civic group today, with two weeks until the election.

It will be the second time the candidates have shared a dais. Last week, the Hollis-Brookline Rotary Club hosted the candidates at an hour-long forum.

The Nashua club had planned to host only Gottesman at a luncheon today at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, but changed its plans over the weekend. Gottesman would have been the third Democratic candidate to speak to the club during the campaign season without a Republican speaker.

Fred Daniels, president of Nashua Rotary West, said the club wants to give both candidates an equal footing.

“We’re trying very hard not to create an unfair situation,” he said.

The list of Democratic speakers was only a coincidence, he has said.

Gottesman, who is a member of the organization and a past president, said he is happy the club will host both candidates. It’s important that the members hear from all candidates, Gottesman said.

Gottesman repeated his position that he has always been willing to discuss campaign issues alongside Haytayan at any forum organized by a nonpartisan and independent group.

Indeed, Gottesman said he had already urged the club leaders to extend an invitation to his opponent to speak at the same meeting as him.

Daniels said the program committee initially wanted to keep to the format of having only one speaker at a time, to give each one more of an opportunity to answer questions from the audience.

Haytayan, a former member of the Hollis-Brookline Rotary, said he was appreciative of the Nashua club’s decision to change its format. The members are better served if they hear from both candidates, he said.