Make no mistake, candidates say they’re willing to debate
A few weeks ago, Carver County Commissioner candidates Tom Workman (District 2), Vince Beaudette (District 3), Frank Long (District 4) and Jim Walter (District 5) announced they had declined an invitation to participate in a debate forum that was to be held by the League of Women Voters Eastern Carver County in Chaska on Oct. 2.
An article detailing the decision was included in last week’s newspaper.
Among the reasons for the candidates’ decision was their belief that although the League claims to be bipartisan, it holds a liberal bias and as a result, the candidates wanted the event to be co-hosted by another organization in order to bring parity to the forum.
“As I pointed out in my (open letter to the league), I’ve attended these forums and found them to avoid questions that allow a conservative view to be expounded on,” Long said.
In response, the League decided to not hold the event for Districts 2-5.
According to Long, the newspaper article has led to confusion about the four candidates’ willingness to participate in a debate. Over the weekend, he said he heard from quite a few voters that told him that the article gave the impression that he and the other three candidates do not want to debate at all. Long said they do, just not through the League.
“All the undersigned candidates challenging the current commissioners are eager to discuss the current commissioners’ records and hear their defense,” he said, noting he was disappointed the newspaper article did not include the specific examples he cited in his open letter to the League that explained the League’s official positions, in its own words.
“By leaving out the positions the League has taken, and only printing my opinions without basis, then following up by inviting our opponents to comment without rebuttal, it has changed a letter about the legitimacy of an organization to one about candidates reluctant to debate, something far from true,” he said.
The opponents — Workman is running against Cheryl Ayotte in District 2, Beaudette is challenging incumbent Randy Maluchnik for District 3, Long is facing incumbent Tim Lynch in District 4, and Walter is running against incumbent James Ische in District 5 — have indicated their willingness to participate in a debate before the election.
Although one or two efforts to plan a county commissioner debate have been reported, at this time, no specific events have been announced.
To read Long’s complete letter, along with the League’s response, visit www.waconiapatriot.com and look for the article under the news header.