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Originally published: 2012-10-15 13:20:17
Last modified: 2012-10-15 13:20:17

No debate: Political forums too limited

I was greatly bothered when I read the story ("Jordan wants to debate with Tarleton," Oct. 3) concerning Cullie Tarleton's response to an offer by N.C. Rep. Jonathan Jordan to a debate for the District 93 House of Representatives seat. Mr. Tarleton said, "he has not been contacted by Jordan's camp and that he would not be open to one, stating that three or four candidate forums are already scheduled this month. ... I think that is quite enough." 

Mr. Tarleton's response is exactly what is wrong with the political process today. I attended the first candidates' forum the Boone chamber held and it was just what I expected: a carefully controlled and very limited question-and-answer period. The chamber is to be congratulated for getting all the candidates to participate, but it was only slightly informative at best -- but that is the nature of forums. This is why politicians prefer them to debates: they are safer for politicians.

Well, enough is enough.

Enough 30-second sound bytes.

Enough slick campaign postcards.

Enough robo calls.
Enough forums where controlled venues do not allow voters to see and hear the differing views of those who seek to represent us in Raleigh. If a candidate, regardless of party, is not willing to debate and share his or her view with the public and defend it in a debate, how can we trust them to defend the interest of their constitutes in Raleigh where they will be debating other legislators for our district's piece of an ever shrinking resource pie? Debate and persuasion are part of the legislative process. "Jordan wants to debate with Tarleton" leaves me with a grave concern.

Greg Tarbutton
Vilas