Dear Editor:

I am Darin Kinser, a resident of Lawrence County. I am writing to emphasize the importance of political discussion and debate in our election process.

I was watching the Secretary of State debate hosted by the League of Women Voters on PBS. I could not believe only Jeff Maurer (L) and Destiny Wells (D) attended. Where was Diego?

“If your ideas are so bad that you can’t even stand in front of a crowd of people, of your neighbors, to defend them, then something’s wrong," Mauer said. "You need better ideas."

Then I looked at my home, the 9th district. The chair reserved for our Republican congressional candidate Erin Houchin sat empty on Saturday, October 1, for the 2022 General Election Political Forum hosted by WTRE radio. Both Tonya Millis (L) and Matt Fyfe (D) answered questions live on the air for the public.

"I'm glad to see Matt here. There is an empty chair between us because the Republican opponent refuses to do debates and forums with us and that is very unfortunate." Tonya said live on air.

This is not the first time Erin Houchin's seat has been vacant. The Scottsburg Town Hall was hosted on June 14. Houchin did not attend. The Monroe County League of Women Voters held a forum on September 28. Matt and Tonya attended both. Houchin did not attend.

Tonya Millis was also the 2020 candidate against Trey Hollingsworth (R). Hollingsworth also refused to come onto the debate stage.

The loss of debating and hearing what each side has to say is a loss of valuable democratic institution that would encourage engagement on policy, and dialogue on ideas challenged by other political opponents.

A good substantive debate could help shape our election for the positive.

If you’re a nominee who fears debates or even appearing at public forums to explain your policy positions to voters, you should choose another line of work.

In liberty,

Darin Kinser

Lawrence County

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