A rare editorial in the Elmira Star-Gazette announces that Martha Robertson and Tom Reed have agreed to participate “in a regular series of point/counterpoint columns on our Viewpoints page.” This is good news: it may be one of very few ways to directly compare the two presumed candidates.
The editorial explains: “We’ll start the columns on a monthly basis. As the election nears, the frequency will increase. Weekly candidates’ discussions are planned for the last month before the election.”
The first of the articles appeared on March 8. Sadly, one candidate, Reed, used the opportunity to repeat vapid campaign talk and characterize his opponents views. The other, Robertson, discussed several issues giving her views without mentioning her opponent. For example on the question of jobs, which both consider a key issue, Robertson wrote:
We can immediately create quality jobs by investing in our crumbling bridges and roads, and in access to the Internet.
While the federal government cannot create private-sector jobs, we can ensure barriers to growth are removed.
This project is important; the candidates should follow through on their commitment. The candidates ought to discuss the issues openly and honestly so voters can make an informed choice.
The editorial asserts:
The candidates seeking to represent the 23rd Congressional District will need to tell us what roles they see for the federal government in changing the region’s flat-line economy to a more promising future arc.
Amen to that! Moreover, voters can pose questions:
And, voters have a chance to pose questions for this series, too. Send your question for a future point-counterpoint to Viewpoints Editor Chris Kocher at email@example.com.
Voters will do well to take advantage of this. While it isn’t clear how questions will be selected for discussion, the candidates should take this seriously.
© William Hungerford – March 2014