The League of Women Voters (LWV) of Westport kicked off its election season programming on Sunday with its annual Fall Brunch that attracted a slate of candidates for state and national office.

About 100 people -- mostly LWV members -- attended the function at a Turkey Hill Road South private home, which served primarily as an informal meet and greet with the candidates.

"Usually local elections here are pretty civil, but this gives our members the chance to really get to know the candidates," said former LWV of Westport president Lisa Shufro.

The roster of candidates in attendance included Congressman Jim Himes, D-4, and his opponent, state Sen. Dan Debicella, R-21; and state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-26, and and her Democratic opponent for state Senate, John Hartwell. Although not officially a campaign event, the candidates reported that the gathering was a productive event for them.

"I learn something new every time I come to an LWV event," said Nitzy Cohen, Republican nominee for the Connecticut House of Representatives in Westport's 136th District.

Cohen's opponent, Democrat and RTM Deputy Moderator Jonathan Steinberg, agreed.

"I recognize that this is an important forum," he said. "The league is about democracy and citizenship and getting people to vote. They're one of the most constructive elements in our town with that."

Guests also said the event served as a substantive exchange between candidates and the Westport electorate.

"This is a good place to get to know the candidates and probe them about their views," said Westport resident Peter Eyes.

State Rep. Kim Fawcett, D-133, and her opponent, Republican Dee Brandt, were also in attendance.

The League of Women Voters of Westport's next major election season event will be an Oct. 13 debate at Westport Town Hall between the 133rd and 136th District candidates for the state House and 26th District candidates for the state Senate.

Editor's note: Pick up a copy of Wednesday's Westport News for a full report on Sunday's brunch.