Letter to the Editor: Democratic Town Committee Candidate Forum

March 11, 2021

Submitted by Korben Whitt-Leitner

Dear Reader:  On Sunday, March 7, 2021, the local Democrats had a forum which they invited me for a question-and-answer regarding my candidacy as a select board member. I, wanting to address all the groups in town, agreed to participate. I am a biracial, 19-year-old Republican running for the office of Select Board. I wanted to discuss some issues: (1) How the Bedford Police Department has treated me so well, ensuring that Bedford is a safe and wonderful community to raise a family; (2) How as a resident of Springs Road,  I see the fire department worked tirelessly and responded to all calls within the town and at the VA (3) The wonderful job that the DPW has done in maintaining our town and (4) The school committee, department and teachers have tcontinued to meet their obligations with hybrid learning and that I have confidence that they will transition to full classroom participation. Most importantly, I wanted to discuss that I would rely on the citizens of Bedford, listening to their concerns and expertise in making decisions especially as they were concerned the budget and the future. None of this was discussed with me. I have requested a copy of the tape so that I can make available to voters.

Editor’s Note: Click this link for an unedited video of the entire forum that was shared with The Bedford Citizen. The Select Board segment begins at 1 hour and 5 minutes.

What was discussed, and I was the only one asked this, was if I supported the constitution. I was accused of not having my views align with the constitution (while I have an eight-year US Army service commitment), and that was just the beginning. The attack commenced from there. This seemed to be much more of a planned challenge on my integrity rather than a forum for me to express my plans, and goals for the town that I love. I accepted this invitation in hopes that it would be moderated on a fair forum that allowed both Margot, and I to present us as Select Board candidates. Unfortunately, this went in the complete opposite direction. I was interrupted and unable to finish my answers, that were just mainly rebuttals to defend myself.

It bothers me to say, and not what I wanted to take away from this, but it appeared that no one was interested in a young black man’s goals or opinion’s, but rather just questioned his beliefs.

I know this will probably be published as “young kid not ready to lead” article, but this letter is to cover the inhospitable treatment and total disregard they had for me as a candidate. I expected much more from the democratic process. Please take time and watch the video and decide for yourself.

With this, I ask that you vote for me on March 13, 2021. I am committed to you, and I committed to the town of Bedford

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March 11, 2021 10:01 pm

Below is the invite from BDTC along with a set of guidelines for last Sunday’s ZOOM call. The guidelines suggest 8 minutes per candidate. There was also a moderator. Korben was “on” for over 20 minutes, while getting peppered with questions and having his allegiance to the constitution questioned – all while the moderator did not keep order and balance. Meanwhile, one of three questions to the incumbent was “why did they stop plowing the bike path during Covid?”. Let’s just say Korben fielded much more difficult questions.
Excellent job Korben.

The Bedford Democratic Town Committee sent the following invite to all candidates in contested races in the upcoming town election.

All seven candidates who accepted the invitation and appeared at the forum agreed to the format described in the invitation.

The Bedford Democratic Town Committee invites you to a candidate forum on the afternoon of Sunday, March 7th at 3 pm to discuss your candidacy in the upcoming local election. The forum will be held via Zoom and structured to allow each contested candidate to have the floor for eight minutes. We ask that your intro be no more than two minutes, and that the remaining time be allocated to answering questions from the audience. The order of speakers will be determined randomly among those running for a particular office and the forum will proceed in the order of candidates for offices for Board of Assessors, Library Trustees, Board of Health, Planning Board, and Select Board.

We expect the forum to last about two hours. Depending on attendance, we may increase the time allocated per candidate

Donna Wright
March 11, 2021 3:15 pm

I watched the video of this incident.
Was shocked to see how disgraceful their treatment was to this young man.
They were beyond rude and disrespectful to Korben. He held his ground, he did it with respect and dignity. He came out as the better candidate. He has alot of pride in his hometown and very good ideas on being a more productive citizen, to work with others in the community. To run for public office is a big commitment. This fine young man has my vote as well as my families votes. He is more than ready for public service in Bedford. Those who were so rude and disrespectful to him as he tried to discuss topics concerning Bedford.
I think you should do some self reflection.
You are not the people I want in a political office in Bedford. I want someone in office who genuinely cares about Bedford.

March 11, 2021 2:35 pm

I was appalled by what I saw in that 3/7/21 Zoom call. Shame on both the those who brutalized Korben’s character as well as the moderators who let it happen, and since when does the spouse of the other candidate get to chime in?! Does he not know yet who he’s voting for? I guess racism is alive in this town, because they showed it on 3/7/21.

March 13, 2021 8:22 am
Reply to  Miguel

I would like to point out that both Ben Bennett and Carla Bradford are both members of the first Parish church in Bedford. (If you dont live in town, it’s the big white Unitarian universalist church in the center with the black lives matter banner stretched across the front). Both Ben and Carla participate in the weekly friday night candle vigil on the lawn for BLM. How exactly does this support of the movement make them racist?

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