Dear Residents of Middletown Springs, Pawlet, Rupert, Tinmouth & Wells,
For the past several weeks the Republican and Democratic candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives have been hammering out details for a public forum that was to take place on October 12. Unfortunately, we reached an impasse regarding public participation in the question and answer section of the forum.
We Republicans insisted on an arrangement wherein all citizens, those who could attend in person as well as those who could not, would be allowed to submit questions on-line, all of which would be shared and open for everyone to see. Due to the constraints of time, six of these questions would be chosen – three by the Republicans to ask of the Democrats, and three by the Democrats to ask of the Republicans.
We insisted on this arrangement for a number of reasons:
Fairness: This gives everyone a chance to participate and be heard. Not everyone has the time or ability to attend a debate in person. Our proposal allowed everyone the chance to submit a question and make their voice heard.
Transparency: By making all the questions a matter of public record and open for public review, the community at large would have the opportunity to see exactly what is on the minds of their fellow Vermonters. There are many issues facing Vermont today, and it would be interesting and productive to see which issues our friends and neighbors most want to hear discussed.
Accountability: Having the candidates choose from the pool of public questions to ask the other side does two things. (1) It shows the voters what the asking candidate’s priorities are, which is important information. And (2) it guarantees that both sides will be asked hard questions.
The Democrat candidates declined to debate under these conditions, so we will be holding separate public events to discuss our issues with the voters.
The Republicans invite you all to a “Conversations with the Candidates”. The event will be held on Oct. 22 at the Pawlet Public Library (141 School St, Pawlet, VT) from 1 – 3. We are looking forward to everyone’s participation!