Over the past two months, I have continually reached out to local organizations to schedule public debates with Terry Moulton, my opponent, because the public deserves to hear the stark contrasts between the two candidates vying to represent them. Unfortunately, Moulton has refused to participate in any debate in front of the public both before and after the primary last month. I believe this is a disservice to democracy. According to Tom Giffey (editorial page editor of the Eau Claire Leader Telegram & president of the Western Wisconsin Press Club) in the article Why you won't be seeing a state Senate debate:
Our [Western Wisconsin Press Club] first debate…was scheduled for Schofield Auditorium at UW-Eau Claire. Dexter was willing to debate, but Moulton’s campaign declined to take part, saying they wouldn’t debate Dexter until after the May 8 recall primary, in which she faced token opposition from a so-called “fake” Democrat who was put on the ballot by the Republican Party.Then on May 9th, the day after the primary election, Moulton’s campaign issued a press release "challenging" me to three debates. I responded with the following statement:
I'm not sure if Sen. Moulton is trying to be ironic with his "challenge", but ever since I entered this race I've been stating my desire for opportunities to debate him in public. I believe that the voters deserve to have an open discussion on the issues that affect them most, and to hear how the candidates stand on those issues. I agreed weeks ago to the Westside debate [Wisconsin Public Radio] on May 31st, the Chamber of Commerce candidate Meet and Greet on May 16th, and the Alliance for Strong Communities and Western Wisconsin Press Club debate, also on the 16th. If Terry Moulton is so eager to debate I'd like to know why he wasn't available for the Medford School District Legislative meeting last month or the original, tentatively scheduled Western Wisconsin Press Club debate (on April 25th). Welcome to the race, Senator Moulton.In reality, the two scheduled joint appearances are not “debates”. The Chamber of Commerce Meet & Greet was only open to members, and the West Side radio program does not allow for face-to-face contact of the candidates or with voters. The fact that in-person, public debates have already happened in the three other state Senate recall races and in the gubernatorial recall race makes Moulton’s unwillingness to debate even more disturbing. The citizens of the 23rd Senate District deserve a Senator who is willing to discuss and defend the policies he or she has supported and voted for. While Terry Moulton is making it abundantly clear he is not that Senator, I have been crisscrossing Wisconsin’s 23rd Senate District talking with voters about my voting record and my plans to start moving Wisconsin forward again. More importantly, I'm listening to their stories, hearing about their lives, and learning about their communities. I am firmly committed to being the accountable leader Wisconsin needs and deserves.
Thanks and Forward Wisconsin,