Ducking debates demonstrates lack of fitness to serve, says Powell

After learning that a forum scheduled to be held at the University of Oklahoma on Oct. 18th has been canceled, Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Chris Powell stated a belief that “Voters should reject any candidate for Governor who is reluctant to face their opponents.” Powell was sharply critical of the Daily Oklahoman for it’s failure to include all three gubernatorial candidates in a forum held on Sept. 24th, saying “their justification for disincluding me doesn’t hold water. It appears much more likely that one or both of the other candidates didn’t want me on the stage. Now they are scared enough that this major debate is being canceled.”

All three candidates are invited to participate in an Accountability Session hosted by VOICE OKC, a coalition of congregations, non-profits, and worker associations in the Oklahoma City metro area, that will take place on Sunday at 3PM at St. John Missionary Baptist Church. Powell has agreed to participate. Independent journalism website Oklahoma Watch sought to host a gubernatorial forum but did not receive sufficient cooperation from at least one of the three nominees and other organizations have experienced a similar lack of willingness to participate from the campaigns. For his part, Powell declares he would attend any such event with both or either of his opponents.

In addition to the canceled forum at OU, there is a second such event set to be held in Tulsa on Oct. 23rd, also organized by non-profit policy group the Oklahoma Academy. “It would be a tremendous disservice to the voters if one or both establishment candidates back out of that event,” said Powell, “if they can’t face open debate before the public how can they expect anyone to believe they can face the tough issues when in office?” The Oklahoma Academy is insistent that the forum set for the 23rd will not be canceled for any reason.