Augusta Free Press

Democrat Ellen Arthur presses debate issue in 24th House District race

Ellen Arthur, Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates in the 24th District, announced today that she has officially accepted invitations to formally debate her opponent, Republican Del. Ben Cline, from three politically neutral hosts: the Lexington News-Gazette, Washington and Lee University in Lexington, and Sweet Briar College in Amherst.

Arthur believes a formal debate is important for the people of the 24th District, as it is fair, promotes civic engagement, and highlights the difference between how she plans to handle issues once elected, compared to how Cline has handled them.

Cline has officially declined all three invitations.

In response to Cline’s rejection of all three invitations, Arthur said: “I am disappointed that my opponent does not believe that the people in this district deserve a true debate. I hope that he will do the right thing and change his mind.”

“The voters of the 24th District have every right to wonder why Ben Cline is so reluctant to defend his record, and his views on the issues, in a one-on-one debate with me.”

A petition that encourages a genuine debate between the two candidates is circulating on and currently has 108 supporters. Kirk Luder from Buena Vista says that a debate “is a basic duty of an elected representative.” Dennis DiVito of Fairfield noted that a face-to-face debate is “crucial to seeing the candidates’ ability to have civil and constructive discourse.” Donna Meeks of Amherst believes that a debate is imperative for the public to “know where each candidate stands on important issues facing our state.”

Arthur will appear with her opponent, as well as other candidates running for office, at three upcoming forums; the first forum is being sponsored by the Amherst Chamber of Commerce and will be held Tuesday, September 22 at Amherst County High School.