I am releasing a public letter (below) to state Senator Walter Dalton. Mr. Dalton is the only Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor who has refused to agree to six debates beginning with a Saturday, January 19th debate in Asheville. I immediately accepted the six-debate proposal when it was first made weeks ago, and have specifically committed to the January 19th debate, a BlueNC-sponsored debate, and others. Mr. Dalton has not committed to even one debate. Here is why he should reconsider….
Dear Senator Dalton:
I write to ask you to reconsider your refusal to join me and other Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor in a series of six statewide debates. No one has to run for Lt. Governor, but those who do have an obligation to debate their qualifications for leading this state through any crisis and on a moment’s notice. Indeed, you have said publicly that the question of who is ready to be Governor should be voters’ first consideration in choosing a Lt. Governor. I agree.
The first debate that you have refused to participate in is scheduled for January 19th in Asheville. I propose that the Asheville debate focus be “Experience,” specifically how the candidates’ respective backgrounds equip them to lead this state.
You and I have different professional backgrounds. My public service has been at the highest levels of the executive branch where I served as the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel and as a Deputy Attorney General. You have held leadership positions in the General Assembly. The two other candidates running have served primarily at the local level. I urge you to reconsider your refusal to participate in the Asheville debate and to join my call for this debate to focus on “Experience.”
The other rationale you have offered publicly for your candidacy is your role in overseeing the state Senate’s budget proposals. I believe there are major differences between us in the budget area as well, both in terms of state government revenue and spending, and the process by which the ratified budget is reached. Given the importance of the state budget to every North Carolinian, I urge you to join in a second debate devoted to this topic.
Beyond debates on “Experience” and the “State Budget,” there are a number of other vital matters that merit debate in light of our differing policy positions. I believe a total of six debates is a reasonable number, enough to allow meaningful, side-by-side comparisons of the candidates while still allowing each of us to meet with voters around the state on an individual basis. I have committed to a “live blogging” debate sponsored by www.BlueNC.com, to a Wake County Democratic Party-sponsored debate, to a debate sponsored by a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) which I propose focuses on education, and to a debate sponsored by a consortium of groups in the fields of mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities. I hope you will participate in these debates as well.
I respect your willingness to serve in public office, and I think voters deserve the chance to hear you debate the merits of your experience and your visions for the future. The best way to give voters what they deserve is to engage in a fair and open discussion of our backgrounds and the issues as all the Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor other than you have agreed to do.
Democratic Candidate for Lt. Governor