The Sun News and Middlesex Community College team up on Tuesday to sponsor a debate between the candidates running for Middlesex County district attorney: Marian Ryan and Michael Sullivan.
The debate, open to the public, will be held at 2 p.m. in the Assembly Room at MCC's Bradford F. Morse Federal Building on East Merrimack Street downtown.
"This is a great opportunity for citizens to come out and hear the candidates express themselves on key public-safety issues," said Sun Editor Jim Campanini. "The Middlesex district attorney's office is the busiest in the state and is a crucial partner with area communities in combating crime. Voters should take these candidates seriously in order to make an informed decision in the September primary as to what type of leader they want."
The debate will be nearly identical to the last Sun-MCC debate in May featuring the two Democrats running for attorney general, Maura Healey and Warren Tolman. The moderator on Tuesday will be Patrick Cook, MCC's executive director of public affairs. The panelists will be Christopher Scott, enterprise editor at The Sun; Laurie Myers, victim-rights advocate from Chelmsford; and Mary-Jo Griffin, MCC's director of community outreach.
Ryan said: "Over the past year as district attorney I have worked to strengthen the DA's office in the courtroom, and implemented a number of new programs and policies that are guided by my 34 years as a prosecutor.
Sullivan said: "I am pleased that the Lowell Sun was able to accomplish what no one had been able to accomplish up until this point: Convincing Marian Ryan of the importance of debates in helping voters decide who is their best advocate as district attorney of Middlesex County. The reason I have been so aggressive in calling for these debates is my strong belief that a candidate who is either unwilling or unable to make their own case during a primary election cannot be expected to make the people's case after the election is over."
Ryan, the current DA, has worked in the DA's office in Middlesex County for nearly four decades. She was appointed the county's top prosecutor by Gov. Deval Patrick in April 2013 after Gerard Leone resigned to accept a private-sector job. She lives in Belmont.
Sullivan, of Cambridge, is Middlesex County clerk of courts, an elected position that oversees all courts in the state's most populous county. Sullivan is also a former Cambridge mayor and city councilor. The primary is Sept. 9.