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DeFazio Agrees To Participate In Debates

Insists on neutral moderator and audience participation

(EUGENE, OR)- U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today sent a letter to Republican candidate Art Robinson agreeing to participate in five debates, with him and any other “minor” party nominees, for the 4th Congressional District seat. “I have accepted offers to participate in five debates—all hosted by non-partisan and well-respected organizations. These forums are well attended and covered by the media for those who are unable to attend the events.”

DeFazio accepted invitations from many of the same groups that hosted debates between himself, Robinson, and Green Party Candidate Mike Beilstein during the 2010 race. The debates will be geographically diverse and sponsored by established groups with a long history of hosting organized, balanced and well-regarded candidate forums. The formats used in these debates will be similar to the formats used in most modern presidential debates. The formats utilize neutral moderators and audience participation to ensure that candidates address topics important to local residents, rather than long diatribes by the candidates.


Mailed on July 9, 2012

Professor Arthur Robinson, PhD PO Box 1250 Cave Junction, OR 97523

Dear Professor Robinson:

I am writing to follow-up on your proposed debate schedule for the 2012 general election.

In the letter I received from you on May 21, you proposed eight partisan debates including an event in Portland with conservative radio-host personality, Lars Larson. Your very unusual idea for us to divide the counties in the district and organize partisan debates is out of the question.

Additionally, since Mr. Larson endorsed your candidacy in 2010 for the 4th congressional district campaign, that format is also not acceptable. No one in their right mind would participate in a debate moderated by someone who endorses their opponent. Even U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) recently said he would not participate in a debate sponsored by the Ted Kennedy Institute so long as the late Senator’s widow refused to remain neutral in the campaign. It is a shame that your idea of a “real debate” is a partisan event that deprives residents from the 4th congressional district of the opportunity to fairly evaluate the views of the candidates with audience or panel questions and a neutral moderator.

In an effort to move forward on scheduling events, I have accepted offers to participate in five debates— all hosted by non-partisan and well-respected organizations. These forums are well attended and covered by the media for those who are unable to attend the events. For instance, the Eugene City Club is broadcast on KLCC, the Coos Bay event is broadcast on public access, and KOBI is working with other television stations to have their debate broadcast in other parts of the district as well. These forums include the following:

The Coos Bay League of Women Voters The Associated Students of Oregon State University in partnership with the campus’ newspaper, The Barometer The Roseburg Chamber of Commerce The City Club of Eugene KOBI and KOTI (NBC) televised forum

I hope you can put to rest this nonsense about the format of the debates. These organizations have their own long-standing formats, which include audience participation. The formats we used during the 2010 debates were very similar to that of recent presidential candidate debates, and provide a stage for addressing numerous topics important to local residents rather than long diatribes by the candidates. Since the point of debates is to educate the voters about the views of the candidates, the voters should be able to ask the candidates to address issues important to them.

I look forward to debating you and any other “minor” party nominees in the fall, after the August 28 deadline for Oregon’s nominating conventions


Peter DeFazio

C: Coos Bay League of Women Voters Coos Bay World, KCBY, Roseburg Chamber of Commerce, Roseburg News Review, City Club of Eugene, Eugene Register Guard, KLCC, KOBI, Associated Students of Oregon State University, Daily Barometer, Corvallis Gazette Times,

Posted on July 11, 2012 in Press Releases.

As Independent as Oregon.

Peter DeFazio's common-sense proposals aim to create good-paying jobs, expand access to affordable health care and develop options outside of the for-profit marketplace, restore economic and educational opportunities, hold government accountable and tip the scales of inequality back in favor of hard-working Oregonians.

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