Coalition calls for debate in 1st District
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KENOSHA Five local non-governmental organizations sent a letter to the Congressional campaign of Rep. Paul Ryan, urging the candidate to debate his opponent Rob Zerban in the 1st District, according to a release from Zerban’s campaign office.
The letter is co-signed by the Common Cause in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, Citizens Action of Wisconsin, the United Auto Workers, and Peace Action in Wisconsin. The letter coms after a string of editorials by local newspapers—including The Cap Times, the Kenosha News, and the Racine Journal-Times—calling on Ryan to debate Zerban.
The letter, dated Sept. 28 and addressed to Kevin Seifert, Ryan’s campaign manager, reads as follows:
“We, the undersigned, represent a diverse coalition of local organizations who believe strong public debate is essential for our democracy. We write with urgency requesting that you, as campaign manager for Paul Ryan’s candidacy in the First Congressional District, set time(s) and date(s) with your candidate’s opponents for formal campaign debate(s) in the district, following in the best traditions of our nation’s open democracy. We understand the campaign of Rob Zerban has indicated willingness to debate, but that your campaign has so far not responded to outstanding requests.
“We believe the unique nature of this election—wherein one candidate is simultaneously seeking two separate offices—only underlines the importance of clearly delineating the choice facing voters in November. We are not alone in emphasizing the importance of public and open debate between the candidates during the campaign. The Kenosha News, the Racine Journal-Times, and The Cap Times have all editorialized in favor of a debate in the First Congressional District.
“And while we certainly understand that Mr. Ryan’s selection as the Republican vice presidential nominee has placed extraordinary demands on his time, we nevertheless believe Representative Ryan has a duty to discuss his positions on the country’s most pressing issues with the people of the First Congressional District as long as he keeps his name on the ballot to continue representing them in the House of Representatives. The district’s citizens deserve to hear Mr. Ryan’s positions on issues specific to their local communities and interests, including extraordinarily high unemployment and crumbling infrastructure in southeast Wisconsin.
“We understand that several local nonpartisan and civic engagement organizations, including the Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch, radio station WGTD, the American Association of University Women, and Carthage College have offered to sponsor debates featuring both major candidates for Congress, and that Mr. Zerban’s campaign has accepted each one of these requests.
“We therefore urge you to consult with Rep. Ryan on the open debate invitations, and accept them without delay. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.”