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Letter: Candidates duck debates, hurt voters

GOP candidate Bruce Blakeman leaves a news conference

GOP candidate Bruce Blakeman leaves a news conference on Jan. 27, 2010. Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

The League of Women Voters conducts nonpartisan, informative and fair candidate debates, which we define as events that include at least two candidates ["Meet the candidates," News, Oct. 14]. The debates are staged to allow candidates to appear face to face and respond to one other.

This was the format the League of Women Voters of Nassau County arranged for the candidates vying for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy's 4th Congressional District seat. This event was to have taken place at Hofstra University on Tuesday.

However, the debate didn't happen. Democratic candidate Kathleen Rice accepted while Republican Bruce Blakeman did not. The league found itself in the same position last year while organizing a forum for the Nassau County executive race. Same format, same venue, one candidate said yes, one said no. This trend is troubling to the league, as it should be to all voters in Nassau County.

Let's hope that in future races, voters will have the opportunity to witness two or more candidates together, putting forth their firmly held beliefs, allowing voters to choose between them, and proudly acting as the embodiment of democracy in America.

To lose this opportunity is a disservice to our citizens and frustrating for the league.

Jane Thomas and Nancy Rosenthal, Port Washington

Editor's note: The writers are the co-presidents of the League of Women Voters of Nassau County.


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