Candidate Forums on October 13

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Mon, Sep 20, 2010, 3:11 pm  //  John Servais

Update Sep 23: Pat Jerns, running for the 42nd District State Senate seat has accepted, as has his opponent, Doug Ericksen. This debate will be held at the courthouse, County Council chambers.

Update Sep 20:  Mike Newman, running for 40th District Position #1 has accepted and will be at the Cruise Terminal.  All eight of the 40th and 42nd District State Legislature candidates have accepted.  We have not heard from Pat Jerns, running for 42nd State Senate - while his opponent Doug Ericksen accepted early.  John Koster, running for US House has told us he cannot make it. Updates are also entered below next to candidates.  

We are keeping the invitations open to those candidates who have declined or not replied yet.  We are structuring a very fair forum that should be enjoyable for both candidates and voters - and informative.  We will post up the schedule and format on October 1.  

Original article below posted Sep 14.

Northwest Citizen is sponsoring two candidate forums on Wednesday, October 13 at 7 pm. Two? Yes, two forums - at the same time. One will be for candidates in the 42nd District - most of Whatcom County - and one for candidates in the 40th - much of South Bellingham, Lake Whatcom area and Skagit County.

The schedules will allow the two County Council candidates to attend one forum at the beginning and then drive to the other for the later part of the schedule. We are also inviting U.S. Congressional candidates Larsen, Koster, Murray and Rossi.  They also will be scheduled to attend both forums.

By running two forums at the exact time, no one need sit listening to a candidate they cannot vote for.  And we think it is more efficient for some candidates.  This date was picked because it is the day ballots are mailed out.  We intend these forums to be the best possible by allowing voters to see the candidates respond to audience questions and speak to the issues. 

These forums will be run in a very fair manner. And they will allow citizens to ask questions directly of candidates. Several of us have a track record of putting on fair and informative political forums. The Lunch Time Soapbox Forums of 2001 and 2003, and the Whatcom Independent newspaper forums of 2005 are examples. Many candidates, both conservative and liberal, have praised those forums for their fairness and for being well run.

And we are bringing our expertise to these forums. They will be fair to conservatives and liberals alike. We are not a stealth group and have no agenda. We hope all candidates will attend in the knowledge that they will have a fair and outstanding opportunity to address the issues and their voters.

The County Council chambers will be the location for the 42nd District candidates and the Alaska Cruise Terminal will be the location for the 40th District.

Current status of candidates:

County Council: Jean Melious has accepted and Tony Larson has declined. We sincerely hope Tony reconsiders and will attend. If not, Jean will have generous time to respond to questions and speak to the issues.

42nd Legislative District, Pos. #1: both Jason Overstreet and Al Jensen have accepted.

42nd Leg, Pos #2: Kelli Linville has accepted but no response from Vincent Buys.  Update Sep 14:  Vincent has accepted.

42nd State Senate: Doug Ericksen has accepted but we have no response from Pat Jerns.

40th Leg, Pos # 1: no response from Kristine Lytton or Mike Newman.   Update Sep 14:  Kristine has accepted.   Update Sep 20:  Mike has accepted.

40th Leg, Pos #2: both Jeff Morris and John Swapp have accepted.

U.S. House: John Koster has tentatively accepted but no response from Rick Larsen. John is working with us to fit into the schedule as he has a meeting in Mt. Vernon the same evening.  Update Sep 17:  John Koster writes he is unable to attend.

U.S. Senate: Patty Murray has declined and no response from Dino Rossi. We understand they both have busy schedules and state-wide obligations. But we are presenting a very efficient manner for them to address the voters here in Whatcom County. We hope one or both will attend.

There is plenty of time. We hope you urge your favored candidate to attend and face the voters. We will be posting more information - including the schedule and procedures - here on NwCitizen. The editors, writers and some commenters on NwCitizen are volunteering to help put on these two forums. Mark your calendar and plan to attend. We will post more later. 

We face expenses of perhaps $800 or more to produce these forums - and we welcome commercial sponsors to help defray these costs.   We welcome any news media that want to cover or broadcast either of these forums.   We hope news media will inform the public of these forums.  For questions, email me at

David Camp  //  Wed, Sep 15, 2010, 11:26 am

I’d like to hear from Mr. Larsen and Mr. Larson.

Both seem to subscribe to the view that putting themselves in front of a candidate debate can only hurt them.

WHat are they afraid of? That the more people know about them and their positions, the less they will like them?

Mr. Larsen we know generally avoids B’ham because he works for Boeing and they have no operations in B’ham.

But Tony (the tiger) Larson, with his aggressive right-winger views seems more like the cowardly lion. Is he so weak as a candidate that he can’t even defend his views and candidacy publically? WHy should we vote for such a craven disrespecter of the democratic process?

John Servais  //  Thu, Sep 16, 2010, 11:27 am

Actually, we are seeing a very equal response from conservative and liberal candidates to our forum.  There is no difference - with some liberal candidates also being slow to commit.  There is plenty of time for Larsen and Larson to check out our forum and decide to participate.  Ham Hayes is in contact with the different campaign staffs and is working with them to clear up questions.

David Camp  //  Thu, Sep 30, 2010, 8:59 am

I don’t subscribe to the false dualism of “liberal v. conservative”, nor did I mention either in my post. My criticism was directed specifically at the corporatist arrogance of Rep. Larsen, and the authoritarian fear of debate by Mr. Larson.

These are my opinions on the motives of these would-be representatives in avoiding public accountability and debate. Let them prove me wrong by respecting the democratic process and standing up on their hind legs in public to justify their candidacies.

WHy should we vote for anyone so contemptuous of the citizens they would represent that they won’t even attend a candidates’ meeting?

Candidate Forums on October 13

Mon, Sep 20, 2010, 3:11 pm  //  John Servais

Northwest Citizen is sponsoring two candidate forums on Wednesday, October 13 at 7 pm

3 comments; last on Sep 30, 2010

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