Why is Wally Herger ducking debates?

He should welcome the opportunity to showcase his experience

Mr. Stiglich, a retired Air Force colonel, ran against Rep. Wally Herger in this year’s Republican primary. He lives in Cottonwood.

Democratic congressional candidate Jim Reed recently challenged Rep. Wally Herger (R-Chico) to a series of three debates. The first two would have occurred in August—one in Yuba City, the other in Chico. The final debate, in September, would have taken place in Redding. Seems like a reasonable plan to me.

Holding debates in some of the more populated areas of the 2nd Congressional District would have afforded voters a convenient opportunity to judge first-hand the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates.

Unfortunately, Wally refused. Instead, his campaign staff apparently suggested they’d be interested in an October debate.

Anxious to lock in on a firm date, the Reed campaign then apparently approached the Chico League of Women Voters to see if they’d be interested in hosting an October debate. They were. A tentative date of Oct. 6 was selected.

Again, seems like a reasonable plan.

A debate in early October would most likely garner a lot of voter interest given its close proximity to Election Day, while also taking place well before absentee ballots began showing up in voter mailboxes.

Unfortunately, Wally refused … again.

Although still expressing interest in a single October debate, Herger’s campaign staff wasn’t ready to commit to or seriously discuss a specific date. You know the old saying, “Don’t call us; we’ll call you”?

Back during the primary congressional campaign, similar efforts were made to schedule debates between myself, the Republican challenger, and the congressman. All to no avail.

To their credit, the Bostonian Tea Party and Chico League of Women Voters tried mightily to get Wally to participate in their debates. He declined, citing a convenient “longstanding policy” preventing him from engaging in political discourse with fellow-Republican challengers.

I realize I run the risk of being accused of jumping onto the Reed bandwagon by supporting his call for debates. Trust me, nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, I’ve jumped upon the growing bandwagon of everyday folks demanding accountability, honesty and a healthy command of the facts from all those who seek or hold elected office.

Candidates should welcome the opportunity to engage in rigorous political debate. In fact, they should pursue it. What better opportunity to showcase one’s command of the facts and leadership on the many critical issues facing America today?

Dare I say, let the debates begin.