League of Women Voters Disappointed in Hanna
October 15th 2012 · 0 Comments
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
The League of Women Voters of the Utica/Rome Metro Area, along with our co-sponsors, the Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL), and WUTR-TV, are greatly disappointed that U. S. Congressman Richard Hanna (R) 22nd District, chose not to participate in our televised candidate forum/debate for candidates of the newly designated 22nd Congressional District. This event was scheduled for Thursday, October 24th at the SUNY Institute of Technology campus in Marcy.
The invitations were sent to all three candidates: Mr. Hanna on August 4, 2012 and to Dan Lamb (Democrat), and Michael Kicinski (Conservative, write-in), on August 10, 2012, with follow-up letters sent on August 19, 2012. Only Mr. Lamb affirmed to us that he would participate. Despite numerous phone calls to Mr. Hanna’s Utica and Washington, DC offices, we received no reply. We visited his Utica office on August 24th where we were directed by his secretary to contact his local campaign manager, which we did via a faxed copy of our invitation letter, voice mail messages, and a follow-up e-mail. Finally during the first week of September we learned, via a phone call and follow-up e-mail from the campaign manager, that Mr. Hanna would not accept our invitation. At that time, we decided not to go forward with the debate, since we do not believe that “empty chair” debates are a productive forum.
The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan volunteer organization, along with the voting public, depends on the cooperation of political candidates for an informed citizenry. We encourage the public to educate themselves about the candidates and issues and to actively participate in their government. To this end we work to inform them of the candidates’ views each election season via candidate debates during which the public has an opportunity to directly ask questions of the candidates. By choosing not to participate in this type of forum, Mr. Hanna is in effect causing district residents to forfeit their opportunity for such participation in this long tradition before heading to the polls.
This political season is especially important to voters as party platforms and candidates hold very divergent views on how best to bring jobs and prosperity to our communities. The more in-depth opportunities the public has to witness the candidates’ stance on the issues, the better informed the electorate. While Mr. Hanna is participating in six (6) separate forums throughout the district, it is our belief that none of these are structured in a way that will provide the kind of citizen participation in the greater Utica area that our sponsored debate would have provided.
Very truly yours,
Karen McBride , Barbara Brookes
Karen McBride & Barbara Brookes
Voter Service Committee
League of Women Voters of the Utica/Rome Metro Area
K. McBride (315) 225-3159, firstname.lastname@example.org
B. Brookes (315) 853-2723, email@example.com