Andy Schmookler: What exactly did Bob Goodlatte agree to?
After my press conferences at the beginning of August challenging Bob Goodlatte to debate, I was pleased that he accepted. But it is far from clear whether Mr. Goodlatte is willing to debate in a way that serves the people.
In one troubling development, Mr. Goodlatte has reportedly told those in Roanoke who were trying to arrange a debate that he would be unwilling to participate in any debate that would be televised.
I would like to ask Mr. Goodlatte how he can justify that position if he is committed to the idea that elections should serve the needs of the voters, and not the ambitions of the politicians. Does he want to debate only if almost no one gets to watch?
Also, Mr. Goodlatte did not respond to the two proposals I made regarding our debates in the letter that I sent him, which I read at my press conferences.
First, I proposed that the format for these debates be determined not by the candidates or the political parties but by some independent organization, like the League of Women Voters, that would keep the interests of the voters paramount.
I want to know if Mr. Goodlatte accepts that proposal.
Second, I proposed that we have at least three debates—one in each of the three main populations centers of our District (Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Harrisonburg). In a district as vast as ours, that seems the least we can do so that voters throughout our District can attend debates and compare their choices side by side.
I would like to know if Mr. Goodlatte agrees to that proposal of holding at least three debates across the District.
These are things that we, as public servants, should be willing to do. That is especially true because the two forces Mr. Goodlatte and I represent in this campaign are so fundamentally opposed. This battle goes deeper than the usual politics, deeper than liberal vs. conservative.
My position is that Mr. Goodlatte has betrayed the people’s trust, and that in this race I am the one the people can rely on to fight for them against the destructive and dishonest force he so willingly serves. He and his political party have a pattern of serving their own ambitions at the expense of the people and of the nation. That’s at the heart of America’s crisis today. And that is what my challenge to Mr. Goodlatte is all about.
Let the voters hear this case argued.
Andy Schmookler is the Sixth District Democratic Party congressional nominee.