Opinion

April 5, 2014

Let candidates know Dalton forum is an important event

Dalton and the entire state of Georgia have a tremendous opportunity later this month. But some of the state’s political candidates might squash it.

The League of Women Voters of Georgia and the League of Women Voters of the Dalton Area plan a forum for all of the qualified candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate from Georgia on Tuesday, April 22, at 6 p.m. at the trade center.

This will provide many Dalton area voters their first chance to see many of these candidates.

Some candidates in these races have visited the Dalton area, and we are very grateful they have taken the time to do that. But most of them have not come to Dalton, and we haven’t heard any plans that they are coming to this area.

The forum will also provide all Georgians with the chance to see all of the candidates for governor on stage together.

Democrat Jason Carter is unopposed in the May 20 primary, so he hasn’t had any debates scheduled. And for some reason, the Georgia Republican Party has scheduled no debates between Gov. Nathan Deal and his challengers, former Dalton mayor David Pennington and state School Superintendent John Barge.

The GOP did schedule numerous debates between its Senate candidates, but none of them will take place anywhere near Dalton.

But a big cloud hangs over this forum. Last week, League officials said none of the candidates or their campaigns had responded to their invitations.

Monday is the deadline set by the League to respond. So it is possible that few, or even none, of the candidates will take part in the forum.

Those who are interested in open and honest debate should not let that happen. Georgians, especially those living in the Dalton area, need to let those candidates know today and Monday that they want them to take part in those debates.

And those who are supporting various candidates, the campaign county chairmen and donors, need to contact the candidates and let them know they’d like to see them come here.

And in the May 20 primaries and the November general election, voters need to remember those who took the time to come to Dalton.

Voters should no longer stand for or support candidates afraid to face their opponents.

And northwest Georgia voters should no longer stand for candidates who ignore this area.

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