Written by Michael Huling
Today, at 3 p.m., State Assembly candidate Melanie Burkholder will be joined by congressional candidate Brian Maryott for a virtual town hall. The event will be on Burkholder’s Facebook page, with viewers having the opportunity to ask questions of both Republican candidates.
Aside from sharing several policy positions on issues like taxes, homelessness, conservation, and the reopening of schools and businesses, Burkholder and Maryott are also facing the same perplexing issue in their campaigns: their opponents refuse to debate.
In Burkhoder’s case, State Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath has simply refused to acknowledge or engage in the prospect of a debate. In an open letter last month, Burkholder reached out to Horvath yet again in an attempt to secure a debate that would allow both candidates to openly share their views with the constituents of the 76th Assembly District.
“The voters of the 76th Assembly District deserve to know the full breadth of who we are, what we stand for, and how we would serve them in the California Legislature,” Burkholder explained. “Your campaign has had multiple opportunities to accept or propose options for debates in this race, but has refused to participate.”
Nothing has changed in the past six weeks, as Horvath remains effectively invisible to her constituents. This abdication of duty is unbecoming for an elected official, and the ultimate opportunity to hold Horvath accountable will come at the ballot box.
Maryott faces a shockingly similar situation, as Rep. Mike Levin has spent over a year avoiding any and all debate requests. Earlier this week, Maryott released a series of emails showing how unwilling to debate Levin has been, which has to make constituents wonder what he’s so afraid of.
“At this point, you have to wonder why our Congressional representative is working so hard to keep people in the dark,” said Maryott. “My offer to Mike is still on the table, over a year later: we debate the issues and allow voters to make an informed choice.”
While Horvath and Levin continue refusing to debate and explain their dismal voting records to constituents, Burkholder and Maryott are using every opportunity to engage with voters. Today’s virtual town hall is the latest example, and anyone looking to learn more about the candidates and their platforms should certainly tune it.